Last month, the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA) hosted the webinar “A State Perspective on Implementing Results First.” The webinar highlighted the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative’s work in implementing an innovative cost-benefit analysis (CBA) approach that helps jurisdictions invest in effective criminal justice policies and programs.
A recent report by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis, noted that “there is strong growth in the application of cost-benefit analyses, yet states could be making wider and better use of them.” It recommended “strengthening outreach to policymakers” and “making findings accessible, understandable, and relevant” as ways to improve the quality of studies as well as their effect on policymaking.
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, quasi-occult term in its entry in the Communications Network’s Jargon Finder, and “capacity-building” sits at the top of an unofficial nonprofit jargon top 10 list.
Building your capacity to apply cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to justice planning and policymaking requires the development of infrastructure, human resources, and processes. You may be advanced in some areas while less resourced in others. Take stock of your current capacity to determine what you’ll need to maintain, improve, or develop.
Consider the following:
- How much site-specific data, particularly around costs, program impacts, and justice system operations, do you currently have?