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In the late 1980s, with the number of drug-related cases on the rise, several courts in the United States began to experiment with new ways to process defendants charged with drug-related offenses. A key innovation was the “drug court.” Due to the more intensive monitoring by the court, as well as the provision of drug treatment, drug courts are more expensive than regular court processing. A typical program costs about $2,000 more per participant. Are drug courts worth this extra cost? Do participants commit fewer subsequent crimes and thereby reduce future costs to taxpayers and crime victims? In short, what is the bottom line?
The Washington State legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to evaluate the costs and benefits of certain criminal justice policies and violence-prevention programs. As part of this activity, the Institute analyzes the overall level of crime in Washington. This report highlights those “big picture” trends.
At the request of the Washington State Department of Corrections, the Institute for Public Policy summarized what is known about the effectiveness of adult correctional programs in reducing recidivism. The report covers programs in seven areas: substance abuse treatment, education, employment, sex offender treatment, cognitive behavioral treatment, life skills training, and intensive supervision. The focus is on fairly recent programs that have been evaluated using a control or comparison group design. Each program area is summarized and individual programs are reviewed in light of their effectiveness in reducing criminal recidivism.
The 1997 Washington State Legislature significantly altered this state’s juvenile offender sentencing laws and intervention policies (E2SHB 3900). One portion of the legislation established the Community Juvenile Accountability Act (CJAA). The Act changed the way some local court programs are funded—only programs shown to reduce recidivism cost-effectively are funded under the CJAA. In the Act, the Institute was charged with measuring whether the CJAA programs cost-effectively reduce recidivism in Washington State.
During the 1998 session, legislators examined the Washington State Need Grant program and the increasing loan debts of students in higher education institutions. As a next step to understanding how students pay for college, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy was directed to compile information on students who worked while enrolled in a post-secondary institution. This study is the first comprehensive look at reviewing the off-campus employment status of students attending colleges and universities across the state.
This review examined ten community networks to gauge their understanding of the outcome measurement approach and legislative expectations. The interviews revealed substantial progress by the networks in defining and measuring results connected to community projects. By legislative direction, the networks are expected to focus on prevention with respect to violence, especially youth violence. Preventative efforts take time to show their effects; thus, the Legislature directed that an external evaluation of the networks and their programs occur after five years of network operation. The Legislature assigned the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to conduct this evaluation.
This report examines the operation and security procedures in the state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) community facilities. A review of the recidivism rates of certain juvenile offenders and an analysis of various models for Community Oversight Committees is also provided. A related technical appendix on individual facility procedures is available by request.
The 1998 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to address several tasks regarding standards in juvenile detention facilities. This report analyzes standards in existing facilities, looks at compliance with recommended national guidelines, and identifies areas for improvement.
The 1998 Legislature directed this study of citizen review panels for child protection. The Legislature determined that it is "critically important to the basic nurture, health and safety of children that the state examine a state wide program relating to child abuse and neglect that includes citizen review panels" as required by federal law. This study addresses: 1) potential barriers to citizen review panels obtaining access to information necessary for them to meet their obligations, 2) current Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) committees relating to children, and 3) issues relating to the creation of review panels.
This report describes the results of an interim validation study. In collaboration with juvenile court professionals, the Institute developed a comprehensive risk assessment, the Washington State Juvenile Court Assessment (WSJCA), as specified in the 1997 Community Juvenile Accountability Act. For the courts to have confidence in the WSJCA, the risk level classification from the pre-screen needed to be validated for juvenile offenders in Washington State. Validating the pre-screen means determining how well it predicts recidivism rates for groups of youth. Adequately measuring recidivism requires selecting a representative cohort of youth rated on the assessment, and then waiting 2 1/2 years to measure their recidivism.