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NCJ Number: 230402 Find in a Library
Title: Adding Value to Justice Outcome Evaluations
Author(s): Edwin W. Zedlewski
Date Published: February 2010
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper illustrates the challenges of incorporating cost analyses into common criminal justice settings, using four examples followed by a discussion of overarching principles in deciding on methodology.
Abstract: The four examples of cost analyses in criminal justice settings involve the cost-effectiveness of specific private security measures, juvenile delinquency prevention programs, police interventions to address crime in neighborhood crime “hot spots,” and offender rehabilitation programs. Four basic principles for cost-effectiveness analysis of criminal justice policies are then outlined. First, economists should participate in evaluations. They should be involved in the evaluation from the outset, assisting in identifying outcomes and outcome measures. Their participation is needed in order to ensure that outcomes are measured in terms of cost factors. Second, measure proximal rather than distal outcomes. As a rule, the evaluation results that are measured should show a close causal link to the economic (cost factor) benefit. In a police intervention, for example, the evaluation may report increases in the number of apprehensions. Then the evaluator could report the number of additional apprehensions achieved per additional resources used, producing a cost-effectiveness analysis. Longer term evaluations would measure the outcomes in terms of the criminal sanctions applied after the arrests. Then the evaluator could measure crime savings due to short-term deterrence effects and long-term evaluations that measured the outcomes in terms of the criminal sanctions applied after the arrests, assessing their costs. Third, use logic models to inform evaluation design decisions. Logic models are diagrams that depict the causal chains through which program resources will produce program activities that in turn create program outputs and program outcomes. Fourth, use appropriate methods. More sophisticated analyses of social investments lead to greater understanding and the potential for better investment decisions. 24 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Cost effectiveness analysis; Economic analysis; Evaluation criteria; Evaluation measures; Evaluation techniques; Research design
Note: NIJ Discussion Paper
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