The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in New York
At the end of 2011, New York decided to move forward with a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis model to serve the public safety sector, driven by the belief that the Results First approach would support the objectives of reducing crime and lowering prison and jail populations. The decision to adopt cost-benefit work was a natural extension of New York's commitment to data-driven decision-making. Technical responsibility for the Results First model was centralized at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, or DCJS, but its output is available to serve all of the criminal justice agencies within public safety agencies of the executive branch.
The criminal justice division was selected because of its role as a multifunctional support agency with a wide range of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data, administration of federal and state funds, and support of public safety-related agencies across the state through research and best practice recommendations. The technical team responsible for implementation oversight at DCJS includes a deputy commissioner, a project coordinator, and a research analyst. In addition to having access to a wealth of criminal justice data, the division serves as the state's statistical analysis center and its administering agency for funds from the federal Office of Justice Programs. Taken together, these factors make DCJS an optimal location for the placement of New York's cost-benefit model.
Cost-benefit analysis garnered gubernatorial recognition in the 2013 State of the State report and has been included in recent requests for proposals and social impact bond efforts. In fact, a recently released RFP seeking innovative proposals for alternatives to incarceration declared that New York “will use cost-benefit analyses, verify programs are implemented with fidelity, and conduct outcome evaluations to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used effectively and are producing the maximum public safety return.”
New York is committed to ensuring that cost-benefit analysis becomes a fully integrated part of the way the state does business. It plans to issue two Results First policy reports in the coming months, a gross impact report in fall 2013 and a net impact report by the end of the year. It is expected that findings from the two reports will be utilized during the program proposal evaluation process and to inform fiscal 2014-15 budget development, which begins in late fall 2013.