JRSA Forum. December 2013. Volume 31, Number 4.

Massachusetts SAC Contributes Data and Analysis to DOC Cost-Benefit Effort

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Massachusetts SAC have been working with the Pew Center for the States Results First project team for the past 18 months to implement a cost-benefit model for criminal justice programs and sentencing policy developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). The Results First model enables states to analyze a wide range of policy choices and identify those that can maximize outcomes and reduce costs.

A milestone was reached on October 23, 2013, when the cost-benefit analysis results of the Massachusetts Department of Correction's evidence-based programs were presented to the Governor's Special Commission on Criminal Justice, a bipartisan committee of criminal justice experts, agency heads, and legislators formed to tackle issues related to the increasing criminal justice population.

The Massachusetts SAC has been instrumental in leading the effort to gather recidivism data on a 2005 criminal justice release cohort, compile data on evidence-based criminal justice programs and costs, and measure agency resource use. The success of this work is directly attributable to collaboration with core members of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Agency Research Group (MCJARG). MCJARG, formed in 2002, meets intermittently to provide an informal forum where professionals interested in criminal justice issues relating to data collection and reporting, research, and program evaluation share information, foster research collaborations, and learn from others. The SAC also held weekly conference calls with the Pew Technical consultant and the core members: researchers from the state's Sentencing Commission, Department of Correction, Parole, Probation, Department of Youth Services, and the Hampden County Sheriff's Office.