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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72255 Find in a Library
Title: Cost Effectiveness in Victim - Witness Advocate Programs - A Case Study
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:8  Issue:2  Dated:(1980)  Pages:97-109
Author(s): L G Brewster
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Evaluation of this victim/witness advocate program (V-WAP) shows that it is socially and financially beneficial to the victims, witnesses, and the criminal justice system, but that it can be further improved.
Abstract: V-WAPs provide counseling and social service referrals to crime victims and other persons such as families of suicide and accident victims. They also notify witnesses about court appearances and inform them of the progress of their cases. The benefits of the studied V-WAP include direct services to program clients, including victims, witnesses, and other persons in need of assistance; savings in time and budgets to law enforcement and county attorney personnel; increased number of successful prosecutions due to the cooperation of witnesses; and increased willingness of the public to report crime. The costs incur from administration and research; labor is provided mainly by volunteers. The data on costs and benefits for the case study were obtained from such sources as published materials, law enforcement records and officials, city and county administrators, and onsite interviews. The data are considered from three perspectives: (1) the use of societal resources and the need to maximize benefits to society (without the distributional effects), (2) the measure of benefits to taxpayers and their cost in tax dollars to help assess the likelihood of taxpayer support, and (3) benefits and costs to individual participants. Since any benefits are considered as social, the total social benefits are used to measure total program benefits. The comparison of quantifiable costs and benefits shows that the program produced $127,222 in annual social benefits. This amount included $102,197 in taxpayer benefits and $25,025 in individual benefits. The annual cost was $121,560. Therefore, the program is cost effective. However, some policy changes such as expansion of witness alert of the cadre of volunteers for direct services to clients should be implemented to further improve the cost-benefit ratio. Tabular data and footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Cost/Benefit Analysis; Program evaluation; Victim program evaluation; Victim-witness programs; Victim/Witness Advocates; Witness assistance
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