New Cost-Benefit Website for Criminal Justice

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Website can be resource for criminal law policymakers.

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The Vera Institute of Justice, with support from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, has launched a website aimed at helping legislators, practitioners, and economists gain a better understanding of how to use cost-benefit analysis when evaluating the budgetary implications of criminal justice policy decisions.

Tina Chiu, the Vera Institute’s director of technical assistance, said in a press release that the website will fill an important “knowledge gap” by helping government officials measure the benefits of police, court, and corrections costs.

The website provides reference materials including a definitions glossary, webinars, case studies, and scholarly articles about cost-benefit analysis in the criminal justice system. According to Chiu, more than 600 participants across 45 states have participated in the website’s live webinars. The website also features a blog and an events page which informs the public of upcoming cost-benefit forums and roundtable discussions.

James H. Burch, acting director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, hopes the website can “demystify” cost-benefit analysis. “It is my hope that while may seem an exceptional project today, cost-benefit analysis will become much more engrained and commonplace in policymaking in the next five to 10 years,” he wrote in a blog post.