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Washington State Adult and Juvenile Recidivism Trends: FY 1995–FY 2014

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Lauren Knoth, Paige Wanner, Lijian He - March 2019

Previous reports published by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy have shown a gradual decline in recidivism for adults released from prison through the 1990s and early 2000s. This report updates WSIPP’s 2011 review of recidivism trends for adults released from prison and expands the scope of our report to include youth populations and additional adult populations. Our analyses found gradual declines in overall recidivism for all four populations from FY 1995–FY 2014. However, examination of recidivism trends by type of recidivism, type of initial offense, and demographic characteristics indicate that changes in trends varied across sub-populations.

Report ID: 19-03-1901
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Inventory of Evidence-Based, Research-Based, and Promising Programs for Adult Corrections

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Paige Wanner - February 2018

The 2013 Washington State Legislature passed a bill to facilitate the use of evidence-based programs in adult corrections. The legislature directed WSIPP to define the terms “evidence-based” and “research-based” and create an inventory of adult corrections programs classified as evidence-based or research-based.

WSIPP produced the first inventory of evidence-based and research-based programs for adult corrections in 2013. This is an update to the original inventory, classifying an additional 30 programs, for a total of 57 programs.

Report ID: 18-02-1901
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The Effectiveness of Reentry Programs for Incarcerated Persons: Findings for the Washington Statewide Reentry Council

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Kristofer Bitney, Elizabeth Drake, Joshua Grice, Michael Hirsch, Stephanie Lee - May 2017

The 2016 Washington State Legislature created the Statewide Reentry Council with the goals of reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes for people who return to the community after incarceration. This legislation also directed WSIPP to examine the effectiveness of reentry programs through a systematic review of the research literature.

Using WSIPP’s standardized procedures, we examined 59 programs to estimate their average effectiveness in reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes. In this report, we describe our meta-analytic and benefit-cost findings for these programs.

Report ID: 17-05-1901
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Assessing the Risk of Criminal Offense for Washington's Involuntary Treatment and Forensic Commitment Populations

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Mason Burley, Elizabeth Drake - October 2015

The 2013 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to develop a risk assessment for patients in the state’s involuntary mental health treatment system.

In Washington State, formal risk assessments have been used to predict the risk of criminal recidivism among juvenile and adult offenders. This report finds that the existing Static Risk Assessment (SRA), used by courts and corrections in Washington for criminal populations, can also serve as a valid tool for determining the level of risk for adults with involuntary civil commitments and forensic competency evaluations. Results indicate that the adapted SRA described in this report has reasonable predictive accuracy for both the civil and forensic populations.

Report ID: 15-10-1901
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Washington's Residential Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative: Recidivism & Cost Analysis

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Elizabeth Drake, Danielle Fumia, Lijian He - December 2014

The 2014 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to examine the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) for offenders sentenced to residential treatment in the community.

Residential DOSA was created by the 2005 Legislature as an alternative to prison for offenders with substance abuse problems. When ordered by a court, an offender’s sentence is reduced in exchange for completing chemical dependency treatment.

When possible, WSIPP conducts benefit-cost analysis to understand the long-term impacts of policies. In addition to residential DOSA’s effect on recidivism, research indicates that crime is avoided through confinement, known as “incapacitation.” We cannot empirically estimate the extent to which a residential treatment facility itself incapacitates offenders. Thus, we are unable to determine the degree to which the benefits from the favorable recidivism reduction of residential DOSA would be offset by the increased costs of non-confinement.

Report ID: 14-12-1901
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Predicting Criminal Recidivism: A Systematic Review of Offender Risk Assessments in Washington State

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Elizabeth Drake - February 2014

The 2009 Legislature required the Department of Corrections (DOC) to use a risk assessment, recommended by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP), which has the highest predictive accuracy for recidivism.

To complete this task, WSIPP employed a systematic research approach. We reviewed the research literature on risk assessments and found five that have been tested on adult offenders in Washington. Among the five options, our review indicates that, to date, the Static Risk and Offender Needs Guide-Revised (STRONG-R) has the highest predictive accuracy of criminal recidivism.

Report ID: 14-02-1901
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Inventory of Evidence-Based and Research-Based Programs for Adult Corrections

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Elizabeth Drake - December 2013

The 2013 Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to (1) develop definitions for “evidence-based” and “research-based” and (2) create an inventory of evidence-based and research-based programs to be used by the Department of Corrections. This report contains WSIPP’s definitions as well as an inventory of evidence-based and research-based programs for adult corrections.

Report ID: 13-12-1901
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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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Recidivism Trends of Domestic Violence Offenders in Washington State

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Elizabeth Drake, Laura Harmon, Marna Miller - August 2013

Washington State Legislature passed a bill directing the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to 1) review the research literature on treatment for domestic violence offenders and other interventions effective at reducing recidivism; 2) survey states’ laws regarding domestic violence treatment for offenders; and 3) analyze recidivism rates of domestic violence offenders in Washington. Findings were published earlier this year on the first two tasks. In this report, we complete the legislative assignment and describe the recidivism rates of domestic violence offenders in Washington.

Report ID: 13-08-1201
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Special Commitment Center for Sexually Violent Predators: Potential Paths toward Less Restrictive Alternatives

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Roxanne Lieb, Amber Royster, Matt Lemon - January 2013

Washington State law provides for indefinite civil commitment of persons found to meet criteria as sexually violent predators (SVPs). The Special Commitment Center (SCC) on McNeil Island houses persons who are detained and/or committed as SVPs. The Institute was directed to study several aspects of SCC. Major findings include:

Releases: As of CY 2012, 86 residents have been released from SCC.

Treatment: 37% of residents actively participate in sex offense treatment.

Annual Reviews: A survey of legal practitioners revealed concerns about the timeliness of reviews, with mixed reports regarding the quality.

Senior Clinical Team: SCC’s group of senior clinicians and managers plays a key role in residents’ treatment progression and decision-making regarding readiness for a less restrictive alternative. Some practitioners in the legal community expressed confusion and/or concern about the team’s role.

Less Restrictive Alternatives: Confinement at the state’s Secure Community Transition facilities costs significantly more than confinement at the main facility.

The report includes a response from the Special Commitment Center.

Revised on 1/28/2013 to modify Exhibits 1 and 17.

Report ID: 13-01-1101r
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