Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Benefit-Cost Results

Since the 1990s, the Washington State legislature has directed WSIPP to identify “evidence-based” policies. The goal is to provide Washington policymakers and budget writers with a list of well-researched public policies that can, with a high degree of certainty, lead to better statewide outcomes coupled with a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Research Approach. WSIPP has developed a three-step process to draw conclusions about what works and what does not to achieve particular outcomes of legislative interest. First, we systematically assess all high-quality studies from the United States and elsewhere to identify policy options that have been tested and found to achieve improvements in outcomes. Second, we determine how much it would cost Washington taxpayers to produce the results found in Step 1, and calculate how much it would be worth to people in Washington State to achieve the improved outcome. That is, in dollars and cents terms, we compare the benefits and costs of each policy option. It is important to note that the benefit-cost estimates pertain specifically to Washington State; results will vary from state to state. Third, we assess the risk in the estimates to determine the odds that a particular policy option will at least break even. ...show more

WSIPP acknowledges the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts that have helped fund some of the research reported on this page.

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For details on our benefit-cost methods, contact Stephanie Lee or download our technical documentation.

Latest Results. The tables on this webpage present our current findings for a variety of public policy topics. Items on these tables are updated periodically as new information becomes available. Interested readers can find more information by clicking each entry in the tables.

Benefit-cost methods last updated May 2017
Search by program description

Current estimates replace old estimates. Numbers will change over time as a result of model inputs and monetization methods.

All Research Areas
Juvenile Justice
Adult Criminal Justice
Child Welfare
Pre-K to 12 Education
Children's Mental Health
Health Care
Substance Use Disorders
Adult Mental Health
Public Health & Prevention
Workforce Development
Higher Education
Adult Criminal Justice
For questions on benefit-cost results relating to Adult Criminal Justice, contact Elizabeth Drake.
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Offender Reentry Community Safety Program (for individuals with serious mental illness) Apr. 2012 $69,950 $23,873 $46,077 ($36,726) $33,224 $1.90 96 %
Circles of Support and Accountability NEW Nov. 2016 $28,512 $6,931 $21,581 ($3,906) $24,606 $7.30 92 %
Correctional education (post-secondary education) NEW Jul. 2016 $24,711 $6,732 $17,979 ($1,248) $23,462 $19.79 100 %
Employment counseling and job training (transitional reentry from incarceration into the community) UPDATED Aug. 2016 $23,721 $6,632 $17,089 ($2,434) $21,287 $9.75 97 %
Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (for persons convicted of drug offenses) UPDATED Nov. 2016 $22,656 $6,738 $15,918 ($1,629) $21,027 $13.91 99 %
Vocational education in prison UPDATED Jul. 2016 $17,781 $4,923 $12,858 ($1,495) $16,286 $11.89 97 %
Case management ("swift, certain, and fair") for drug-involved persons UPDATED Nov. 2016 $15,069 $4,389 $10,681 $381 $15,451 n/a 100 %
Electronic monitoring (probation) Dec. 2014 $13,723 $3,868 $9,855 $1,138 $14,861 n/a 93 %
Mental health courts UPDATED Oct. 2016 $17,171 $4,980 $12,191 ($3,106) $14,065 $5.53 95 %
Intensive supervision (surveillance and treatment) Dec. 2016 $13,210 $3,907 $9,303 ($813) $12,397 $16.25 100 %
Reentry courts NEW Aug. 2016 $16,912 $5,153 $11,760 ($4,922) $11,990 $3.44 95 %
Inpatient or intensive outpatient drug treatment during incarceration UPDATED Nov. 2016 $13,085 $3,651 $9,434 ($1,289) $11,796 $10.15 98 %
Therapeutic communities (in the community) for individuals with co-occurring disorders UPDATED Nov. 2016 $16,448 $4,872 $11,576 ($5,092) $11,357 $3.23 87 %
Correctional education (basic skills) NEW Jul. 2016 $12,076 $3,379 $8,697 ($1,249) $10,827 $9.67 98 %
Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (for persons convicted of property offenses) UPDATED Nov. 2016 $12,349 $3,774 $8,575 ($1,629) $10,721 $7.58 71 %
Outpatient or non-intensive drug treatment during incarceration UPDATED Nov. 2016 $10,592 $2,916 $7,676 ($748) $9,844 $14.16 99 %
Outpatient or non-intensive drug treatment in the community UPDATED Nov. 2016 $10,340 $3,071 $7,269 ($769) $9,572 $13.45 100 %
Electronic monitoring (parole) Dec. 2014 $8,259 $2,041 $6,219 $1,139 $9,398 n/a 100 %
"Swift, certain, and fair" supervision UPDATED Jan. 2017 $9,150 $2,552 $6,598 $68 $9,218 n/a 87 %
Drug courts UPDATED Aug. 2016 $13,926 $4,888 $9,038 ($4,924) $9,002 $2.83 100 %
Therapeutic communities (during incarceration) for individuals with substance use disorders UPDATED Nov. 2016 $11,092 $2,966 $8,126 ($2,198) $8,894 $5.05 96 %
Risk Need and Responsivity supervision (for individuals classified as high- and moderate-risk) UPDATED Dec. 2016 $9,592 $2,947 $6,645 ($1,372) $8,220 $6.99 98 %
Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) NEW Aug. 2016 $22,719 $8,120 $14,599 ($14,535) $8,184 $1.56 89 %
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (for individuals classified as high- or moderate-risk) UPDATED Dec. 2016 $8,817 $2,732 $6,085 ($1,395) $7,422 $6.32 100 %
Therapeutic communities (in the community) for individuals with substance use disorders UPDATED Nov. 2016 $9,617 $3,074 $6,544 ($3,784) $5,833 $2.54 80 %
Correctional industries in prison UPDATED Jul. 2016 $6,151 $1,700 $4,451 ($485) $5,666 $12.68 100 %
Case management (not "swift, certain, and fair") for drug-involved persons UPDATED Nov. 2016 $5,714 $1,527 $4,187 ($385) $5,329 $14.84 85 %
Work release UPDATED Jul. 2016 $4,303 $1,067 $3,236 $503 $4,806 n/a 99 %
Police diversion for low-severity offenses (pre-arrest) NEW Mar. 2017 $3,911 $1,114 $2,797 $555 $4,466 n/a 87 %
Day reporting centers UPDATED Oct. 2016 $7,938 $2,855 $5,083 ($3,989) $3,949 $1.99 76 %
Employment counseling and job training in the community NEW Aug. 2016 $4,240 $1,496 $2,744 ($1,963) $2,277 $2.16 74 %
Treatment in the community for individuals convicted of sex offenses UPDATED Jan. 2017 $4,027 $1,184 $2,843 ($2,418) $1,609 $1.67 60 %
Treatment during incarceration for individuals convicted of sex offenses UPDATED Jan. 2017 $5,967 $1,805 $4,163 ($4,574) $1,394 $1.30 62 %
Restorative justice conferencing UPDATED Feb. 2017 $2,391 $904 $1,487 ($1,110) $1,282 $2.15 58 %
Intensive supervision (surveillance only) Dec. 2016 $398 $128 $270 ($107) $290 $3.71 53 %
Jail diversion for individuals with mental illness (post-arrest) UPDATED Mar. 2017 ($623) ($378) ($245) $690 $67 n/a 51 %
Employment counseling and job training with paid work experience in the community NEW Aug. 2016 $4,959 $2,193 $2,765 ($5,378) ($420) $0.92 45 %
Sex offender registration and community notification UPDATED Nov. 2016 ($1,800) ($369) ($1,432) ($350) ($2,150) ($5.14) 33 %
Inpatient or intensive outpatient drug treatment in the community UPDATED Nov. 2016 ($1,344) ($124) ($1,220) ($889) ($2,233) ($1.51) 34 %
Life skills education UPDATED Dec. 2016 ($1,518) ($249) ($1,269) ($1,144) ($2,662) ($1.33) 35 %
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) courts UPDATED Aug. 2016 $4,324 $2,531 $1,793 ($7,831) ($3,507) $0.55 18 %
Domestic violence perpetrator treatment (Duluth-based model) Aug. 2014 ($2,174) ($413) ($1,762) ($1,448) ($3,623) ($1.50) 23 %
Community-based correctional facilities (halfway houses) NEW Aug. 2016 ($5,986) ($484) ($5,503) ($8,378) ($14,364) ($0.71) 0 %
Police diversion for individuals with mental illness (pre-arrest) NEW Mar. 2017 ($14,028) ($2,022) ($12,005) ($4,770) ($18,798) ($2.94) 1 %
Policy
For individuals classified as lower risk, decrease prison average daily population by 250, by lowering length of stay by 3 months Oct. 2013 ($4,455) ($862) ($3,593) $5,887 $1,432 n/a 68 %
For individuals classified as moderate risk, decrease prison average daily population by 250, by lowering length of stay by 3 months Oct. 2013 ($15,791) ($2,497) ($13,294) $5,888 ($9,903) n/a 8 %
For individuals classified as high risk, decrease prison average daily population by 250, by lowering length of stay by 3 months Oct. 2013 ($43,462) ($5,834) ($37,628) $5,885 ($37,577) n/a 0 %
Police (results per-officer)
Deploy one additional police officer with hot spots strategies Oct. 2013 $518,405 $66,942 $451,463 ($96,637) $421,768 $5.36 100 %
Deploy one additional police officer with statewide average practices Oct. 2013 $445,980 $57,627 $388,353 ($92,152) $353,828 $4.84 100 %
To view details of all Adult Criminal Justice programs in a single pdf, click here.
Other Adult Criminal Justice topics reviewed; benefit-cost results not yet available:
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review Notes
Civil legal aid NEW Mar. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Day fines NEW Feb. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Deferred prosecution of DUI offenses NEW Mar. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Sep. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Domestic violence perpetrator treatment (Non-Duluth models) Aug. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Housing assistance with services NEW Aug. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Housing assistance without services NEW Aug. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Ignition interlock devices for alcohol-related offenses Mar. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Legal financial obligation repayment interventions NEW Jan. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Parenting programs (for incarcerated parents) UPDATED Aug. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Revocation reduction programs NEW Mar. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Therapeutic communities for individuals with personality disorders NEW Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Violence reduction treatment NEW Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Banning criminal record check boxes in hiring NEW Nov. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Cautioning for cannabis offenses NEW Mar. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Child support barriers NEW Mar. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Mentoring programs NEW Mar. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Pretrial detention NEW Feb. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Project Sentry NEW Mar. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
State ID provision NEW Mar. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Veteran's courts Jul. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Click to expand
For more information on the methods
used please see our Technical Documentation.
360.664.9800
institute@wsipp.wa.gov