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Cost-Benefit Analysis of Criminal Justice Reforms

Accession Number: 027496
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This article examines the major considerations to be taken when performing a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This process is illustrated by showing how the costs and benefits are determined for the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Multisite Adult Drug Court Evaluation. Sections discuss: the market for crime; cost-benefit analysis in criminology--alternative explanations, or counterfactuals, whose benefits count, and variable estimates; the MADCE; what the MADCE impact evaluation found; measuring the costs and benefits of drug courts; adding up the costs and benefits; what the MADCE CBA found; and improving CBAs in criminology. “The CBA performed in the MADCE study demonstrates that criminal justice reforms can have tangible, positive benefits, including fewer crimes and more savings in victimization costs” (p. 6).

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