Building Cost-Benefit Analysis Capacity in Criminal Justice: Notes from a Roundtable Discussion

04/26/2013
Tina Chiu

As state and local budgets have become increasingly strained in recent years, interest in using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in criminal justice policymaking and planning has grown. Although reliable information on costs and benefits can help guide budget officials, policymakers, and legislators, most jurisdictions have not been able to create a sustained capacity to either conduct cost-benefit studies or use their results. The Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank, a project of Vera’s Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit, convened a roundtable discussion to examine the factors that might help agencies draw on CBA in a lasting, meaningful way. In the daylong meeting, people from state policy entities and nonprofit organizations, along with elected officials from four states, discussed strategies for building CBA capacity. This publication covers three areas to consider as part of that objective: organizations, staff, and making CBA part of ongoing processes.