CBKB Overview

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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.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Justice Policy Toolkit
12/23/2014
Throughout the justice field, demand is growing for cost-benefit analysis (CBA), an economic tool that compares the costs of programs or policies with the benefits they produce. Although there is no one-size-fits-all template for conducting a CBA, analysts and researchers must follow a common...
Using Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Policymaking
04/10/2014
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...
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...
05/14/2014
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A few years ago, a colleague asked me a pointed question about cost-benefit analysis: "Is it useful or a bunch of baloney?" (Actually, her words were a bit saltier.) We had worked together at the New York City Office of Management and Budget—and...
05/06/2014
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A longer version of this interview originally appeared on the blog of the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a Vera project. Dr. Craig D. Uchida is the president of Justice & Security Strategies, Inc., and is a former...
04/29/2014
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Vera’s Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) project has two main audiences for its work. One is a technical audience, including legislative, policy, budget and fiscal analysts, researchers, evaluators, criminologists, and others...
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...
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...