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Cost analysis

"Local governments across the U.S. are striving to improve public safety and optimize criminal justice investments … This policy brief considers the importance of collaboration with local justice partners in the formulation and implementation of state­ level justice reinvestment solutions. It highlights the need to share data to identify and implement cost­ saving solutions, partner to promote successful policy implementation, and invest locally." Sections cover: sharing data to identify and implement cost-saving solutions; Spotlight—Ohio; partnering with local stakeholders to promote successful policy implementation—sentencing, Spotlight—resource incentives for local placement in Pennsylvania, release mechanisms, community supervision, and California's public safety realignment and voter-led initiatives to reduce incarceration; investing locally; "thinking state" (partnering at the state level) in crafting local justice reinvestment solutions; and conclusion.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative Cover

"Jails are far more expensive than previously understood, as significant jail expenditures—such as employee salaries and benefits, health care and education programs for incarcerated people, and general administration—are paid for by county or municipal general funds, and are not reflected in jail budgets. Drawing on surveys from 35 jail jurisdictions from 18 states, this report determined that even the jurisdictions themselves had difficulty pinning down the total cost of their local jail or jail system. It also highlights how the surest way to safely cut costs is to reduce the number of people who enter and stay in jails. In doing so, jurisdictions will be able to save resources and make the investments necessary to address the health and social service needs of their communities, which have for too long landed at the doorstep of their jails." Sections contained in this report include: introduction; methods—measuring the price of jail; results—counting all the costs and the actual price of jails; a tale of two counties—inmate population drive costs; measuring a jail's cost savings; and conclusion. An appendix provides a summary of the survey's results.

The Price of Jails Cover

The development and implementation of an analytical tool that helps states determine which evidence-based practices are most cost effective in preventing crime and lowering correctional costs. “The project’s overall goal is to use the best information available to identify sentencing and corrections policies that can help states protect public safety and control taxpayer costs. To accomplish this goal, we have constructed a benefit-cost “investment” model that estimates crime and fiscal outcomes of different combinations of public policies” (p. 1). Sections of this report that follow a summary include: background; project element 1—development of the sentencing tool; project element 2—application of the tool to Washington’s policy process; and project element 3—software development and next steps.

WSIPP's Benefit-Cost Tool for States: Examining Policy Options in Sentencing and Corrections Cover

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