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Vocational and employment training

Juvenile Justice
Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2017.  Literature review updated June 2017.
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Vocational and employment training programs for youth involved in the juvenile justice system include a combination of vocational skills training, academic education or tutoring, and job search assistance. Vocational skills training typically includes classroom-based or unpaid job experiences that teach youth employable skills. Job search assistance may include interview preparation, resume building, or job placement services. Included programs provide residential services (during incarceration) or non-residential services in the community. In the included studies, participants typically received services over a period of three to ten months.
The estimates shown are present value, life cycle benefits and costs. All dollars are expressed in the base year chosen for this analysis (2016). The chance the benefits exceed the costs are derived from a Monte Carlo risk analysis. The details on this, as well as the economic discount rates and other relevant parameters are described in our Technical Documentation.
Benefit-Cost Summary Statistics Per Participant
Benefits to:
Taxpayers $2,989 Benefits minus costs $3,872
Participants ($417) Benefit to cost ratio $2.97
Others $2,989 Chance the program will produce
Indirect $277 benefits greater than the costs 53 %
Total benefits $5,838
Net program cost ($1,966)
Benefits minus cost $3,872
1In addition to the outcomes measured in the meta-analysis table, WSIPP measures benefits and costs estimated from other outcomes associated with those reported in the evaluation literature. For example, empirical research demonstrates that high school graduation leads to reduced crime. These associated measures provide a more complete picture of the detailed costs and benefits of the program.

2“Others” includes benefits to people other than taxpayers and participants. Depending on the program, it could include reductions in crime victimization, the economic benefits from a more educated workforce, and the benefits from employer-paid health insurance.

3“Indirect benefits” includes estimates of the net changes in the value of a statistical life and net changes in the deadweight costs of taxation.
Detailed Monetary Benefit Estimates Per Participant
Benefits from changes to:1 Benefits to:
Taxpayers Participants Others2 Indirect3 Total
Crime $1,022 $0 $2,700 $510 $4,232
Labor market earnings associated with high school graduation $466 $1,025 $447 $0 $1,937
Health care associated with educational attainment $115 ($32) ($128) $55 $10
Food assistance $1,451 ($1,311) $0 $725 $865
Costs of higher education ($66) ($99) ($30) ($29) ($223)
Adjustment for deadweight cost of program $0 $0 $0 ($984) ($984)
Totals $2,989 ($417) $2,989 $277 $5,838
Detailed Annual Cost Estimates Per Participant
Annual cost Year dollars Summary
Program costs $1,937 2014 Present value of net program costs (in 2016 dollars) ($1,966)
Comparison costs $0 2014 Cost range (+ or -) 10 %
Per-participant cost estimates are based on reported per-participant costs from included studies. The weighted average length of services is 7.9 months.: National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2009), Cave et al. (1993), Bloom et al. (1996), and Miller et al. (2015).
The figures shown are estimates of the costs to implement programs in Washington. The comparison group costs reflect either no treatment or treatment as usual, depending on how effect sizes were calculated in the meta-analysis. The cost range reported above reflects potential variation or uncertainty in the cost estimate; more detail can be found in our Technical Documentation.
Estimated Cumulative Net Benefits Over Time (Non-Discounted Dollars)
The graph above illustrates the estimated cumulative net benefits per-participant for the first fifty years beyond the initial investment in the program. We present these cash flows in non-discounted dollars to simplify the “break-even” point from a budgeting perspective. If the dollars are negative (bars below $0 line), the cumulative benefits do not outweigh the cost of the program up to that point in time. The program breaks even when the dollars reach $0. At this point, the total benefits to participants, taxpayers, and others, are equal to the cost of the program. If the dollars are above $0, the benefits of the program exceed the initial investment.

^WSIPP’s benefit-cost model does not monetize this outcome.

^^WSIPP does not include this outcome when conducting benefit-cost analysis for this program.

Meta-analysis is a statistical method to combine the results from separate studies on a program, policy, or topic in order to estimate its effect on an outcome. WSIPP systematically evaluates all credible evaluations we can locate on each topic. The outcomes measured are the types of program impacts that were measured in the research literature (for example, crime or educational attainment). Treatment N represents the total number of individuals or units in the treatment group across the included studies.

An effect size (ES) is a standard metric that summarizes the degree to which a program or policy affects a measured outcome. If the effect size is positive, the outcome increases. If the effect size is negative, the outcome decreases.

Adjusted effect sizes are used to calculate the benefits from our benefit cost model. WSIPP may adjust effect sizes based on methodological characteristics of the study. For example, we may adjust effect sizes when a study has a weak research design or when the program developer is involved in the research. The magnitude of these adjustments varies depending on the topic area.

WSIPP may also adjust the second ES measurement. Research shows the magnitude of some effect sizes decrease over time. For those effect sizes, we estimate outcome-based adjustments which we apply between the first time ES is estimated and the second time ES is estimated. We also report the unadjusted effect size to show the effect sizes before any adjustments have been made. More details about these adjustments can be found in our Technical Documentation.

Meta-Analysis of Program Effects
Outcomes measured Treatment Age No. of effect sizes Treatment N Adjusted effect sizes (ES) and standard errors (SE) used in the benefit-cost analysis Unadjusted effect size (random effects model)
First time ES is estimated Second time ES is estimated
ES SE Age ES SE Age ES p-value
Alcohol use disorder^^ 17 1 50 -0.023 0.203 19 n/a n/a n/a -0.023 0.910
Cannabis use^ 17 2 173 0.003 0.165 19 n/a n/a n/a 0.003 0.986
Crime 17 8 1329 -0.038 0.060 19 -0.038 0.060 29 -0.048 0.418
Earnings^^ 17 3 800 0.069 0.064 19 0.000 0.018 20 0.069 0.287
Employment^^ 17 1 50 0.738 0.276 19 0.000 0.000 0 0.738 0.008
Externalizing behavior symptoms^^ 17 1 50 0.431 0.208 19 0.205 0.138 22 0.431 0.038
Food assistance 17 1 369 -0.166 0.127 19 0.000 0.000 0 -0.166 0.192
GED attainment^ 17 3 604 0.255 0.207 19 n/a n/a n/a 0.255 0.220
High school graduation 17 2 419 0.010 0.258 19 0.010 0.258 19 0.010 0.968
Illicit drug use disorder^^ 17 1 50 0.034 0.203 19 n/a n/a n/a 0.034 0.866
Internalizing symptoms^^ 17 1 50 0.077 0.207 19 0.056 0.163 21 0.077 0.709
Substance use^ 17 1 123 -0.321 0.176 19 n/a n/a n/a -0.321 0.069

Citations Used in the Meta-Analysis

Cave, G., Bos, H., Doolittle, F., & Toussaint, C. (1993). JOBSTART: Final report on a program for school dropouts. New York, NY: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Gruenewald, P.J., Laurence, S.E., & West, B.R. (1985). National evaluation of the New Pride replication program, final report - Volume II: Client impact evaluation. Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE).

National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (2009). In search of evidence-based practice in juvenile corrections: An evaluation of Florida's Avon Park Youth Academy and STREET Smart Program. Madison, WI: National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Orr, L.L., Bloom, H.S., Bell, S.H., Doolittle, F., Lin, W., & Cave, G. (1996). Does training for the disadvantaged work? Evidence from the National JTPA Study. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.

Quay, H.C., & Love, C.T. (1977). The effect of a juvenile diversion program on rearrests. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 4, 377-396.

Schaeffer, C.M., Henggeler, S.W., Ford, J.D., Mann, M., Chang, R., & Chapman, J.E. (2014). RCT of a promising vocational/employment program for high-risk juvenile offenders. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 46(2), 134-143.