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Prison, Police, and Programs: Evidence-Based Options that Reduce Crime and Save Money

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Steve Aos, Elizabeth Drake - November 2013

Since the 1990s, the Washington State legislature has directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to identify policies with an “evidence-based” track record of improving certain public policy outcomes. Outcomes of interest have included, among others, education, child welfare, crime, and mental health.

This report updates and extends WSIPP’s list of well-researched policies that reduce crime. We display our current tabulation of evidence-based prevention, juvenile justice, and adult corrections programs, and we include our initial reviews of prison sentencing and policing.

As with our previous lists, we find that a number of public policies can reduce crime and are likely to have benefits that exceed costs. We also find credible evidence that some policies do not reduce crime and are likely to have costs that exceed benefits. The legislature has previously used this type of information to craft policy and budget bills. This updated list is designed to help with subsequent budgets and policy legislation.

Report ID: 13-11-1901
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