The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Civil Liberties Union recently released Improving Budget Analysis Of State Criminal Justice Reforms: A Strategy For Better Outcomes And Saving Money. The report analyzes how states prepare fiscal notes of sentencing and corrections legislation. Also known as fiscal impact analyses, fiscal notes report the budgetary impact of pending legislation and, when done well, can add critical information to the policy process.
The report finds that fiscal notes are often not prepared for criminal justice bills and that there is little consistency in practice across states. The authors analyzed sentencing and corrections legislation enacted between 2009 and 2011 and found that:
- About forty percent of the enacted bills had no fiscal note attached,
- The majority of states failed to examine the fiscal costs and savings beyond two years, and
- Few states described the methods used to determine fiscal impacts.
The report, available on the websites of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Civil Liberties Union, also identifies best practices and provides resources for preparing fiscal notes.
Read more about fiscal impact analysis and how it differs from cost-benefit analysis in CBKB’s types of economic analysis tool.