During the last 15 years, the Washington State Legislature has taken a number of steps to develop an “evidence-based” juvenile justice system. The central concept has been to identify and implement strategies shown—through rigorous research—to reduce crime cost-effectively. In 2009, the Legislature turned its attention to the mechanism through which Washington’s 33 juvenile courts receive state dollars. The Institute was directed to report on the administration of the new funding mechanism. We also summarize key policy reforms over the past 15 years that have established an emphasis on providing evidence-based programs in Washington’s juvenile justice system.
Can knowledge about “what works” to reduce crime be used to help states achieve a win-win outcome of lower crime and lower taxpayer spending?
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy has constructed an analytical tool for the Washington legislature to help identify evidence-based sentencing and programming policy options to reduce crime and taxpayer criminal justice costs. With additional financial assistance from the MacArthur Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts contracted with WSIPP to: (1) develop the tool, (2) apply it to a policy process currently underway in Washington State, and (3) help Pew make the tool available to other interested states.
This report describes the tool (as of August 2010) in detail and illustrates its use by applying it to two hypothetical sentencing policy options in Washington State. The tool assesses benefits, costs, and risks. Results from the two hypothetical examples point to possible win-win policy combinations.
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy conducts non-partisan policy research for the state of Washington. Originally conceived in 1982, the organization’s governance structure and operating practices have evolved over time. This paper reviews the history of the Institute’s structure and mission.
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.
This report describes the Institute's latest analysis of the costs and benefits of crime prevention and intervention programs. It contains a summary of the findings as well as a detailed technical discussion of the model used to estimate costs and benefits.