Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice

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Vera's Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit has developed a national knowledge bank for cost-benefit analysis in criminal justice to help practitioners and policymakers better understand the budgetary impact of criminal justice policy choices.

With support from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance, Vera has developed the national Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB). CBKB consists of a website that serves as a clearinghouse for resources and ongoing research on cost-benefit analysis in criminal justice as well as an active center of a growing community of practice. Original materials—including podcasts, videos, and a cost-benefit toolkit—are developed specifically for CBKB to provide general education and training on criminal justice cost-benefit analysis to a variety of national audiences. Vera will also convene policymakers, practitioners, and cost-benefit subject matter experts in roundtable discussions on cost-benefit topics of emerging interest.

Why This Project Matters

Few jurisdictions have a sense of the return on investment they are getting from their criminal justice system expenditures. Money is spent and assumptions are made about outcomes—financial and substantive—without much notion of the real costs or benefits incurred. Yet this information is highly relevant to the decisions policymakers need to make. CBKB will help to broaden the knowledge base of practitioners and policymakers about criminal justice cost-benefit analysis, deepen the knowledge and practice in this area, and support practitioners in building their capacity to promote, use, and interpret cost-benefit analysis in criminal justice settings.

For more information about cost-benefit analysis, contact cbkb@cbkb.org.

Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives
03/27/2014
Like other government agencies, police departments are under great pressure to get the biggest return possible when investing taxpayers’ dollars in justice programs and policies. The Law Enforcement Forecasting Group of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance asked Vera to...
Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs
03/05/2014
The Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a project of Vera’s Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit, convened a working group of researchers and policymakers to help advance the use of rigorous cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in decisions about criminal justice programs and policies. Input from...
A Guide to Calculating Justice-System Marginal Costs
05/02/2013
The costs and benefits of criminal justice policies and activities affect everyone. Understanding what goes into the costs of operating jails, prisons, probation and parole, courts, law enforcement agencies, treatment programs, and other segments of the criminal justice system is important for...
Building Cost-Benefit Analysis Capacity in Criminal Justice: Notes from a Roundtable Discussion
04/26/2013
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,...
09/05/2013
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This post originally appeared on the blog of the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a Vera project. When U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke to the American Bar Association recently about a range of criminal justice issues, it was his announcement of a change in...
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05/02/2013
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The costs and benefits of criminal justice policies affect us all—taxpayers, elected officials, practitioners, and society as a whole. As cost-benefit analysts and budget officials know, any meaningful discussion about government costs requires an understanding of marginal costs because these are...
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04/26/2013
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The title of a new publication from Vera’s Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) is admittedly a mouthful: Building Cost-Benefit Analysis Capacity in Criminal Justice: Notes from a Roundtable Discussion. It also includes a dreaded word: capacity. “Capacity” is described as a vague...
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02/04/2013
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By Jules Verdone A recent page-one article in The New York Times raised fascinating questions about what other jurisdictions can learn from New York City, where the police force expanded in the 1990s and both crime and incarceration have decreased since then. CBKB staff often field questions about...
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12/17/2012
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As 2012 winds down, the staff of Vera’s Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank (CBKB) for Criminal Justice have engaged in some predictable year-end behavior. We’ve been making lists. Our website, like the rest of the project, focuses on the use of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in the criminal justice field....
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