BOSTON, Mass. — With generous support from the Public Welfare Foundation, the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) at Community Resources for Justice partnered with economist Michael Wilson to develop a model for pretrial cost benefit analysis. The first of its kind, the model uses local cost and criminal justice data to weigh system costs of the use of pretrial detention against the cost to taxpayers and victims when pretrial defendants commit new crimes. The model also allows local officials to estimate the impact of policy changes on system costs and public safety.
Two jurisdictions, Johnson County, Kansas, and Boulder County, Colorado, were instrumental in helping CJI to develop the pretrial cost-benefit model. Based on their experiences, a new brief titled A Cost-Benefit Model for Pretrial Justice describes the local data and collaboration that are required for pretrial cost-benefit analysis, highlights its benefits for policy and planning, and suggests questions that local jurisdictions should ask if they are considering undertaking pretrial cost-benefit analysis.