State Fact Sheet

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Illinois

Editor's note: This page was updated in February 2017 to reflect recent activity in the state.


In the fall of 2011, at the request of Gino DiVito, chairman of the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council (SPAC), the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative began working with the council to develop the Illinois Results First cost-benefit model for adult criminal justice programs and policies. 

The statutorily created council reports directly to the governor and the General Assembly. The council serves as a clearinghouse for criminal justice data and analysis on the fiscal and social impact of sentencing policies and practices and is tasked with using data analysis to support implementation of evidence-based corrections policies. With Results First, the council’s primary objective is to produce system-wide fiscal impact statements for relevant criminal justice legislation that utilize cost-benefit analysis of various corrections programs and strategies, including traditional sentencing schemes as well as diversion and probation programs.


In partnership with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the council’s executive director, Kathy Saltmarsh, directs a multi-agency team of analysts in customizing the Results First model to fit Illinois’ unique criminal justice context. This includes generating an inventory of state-funded criminal justice programs, analyzing sentencing practices, offender flow, and recidivism over a nine-year period, and fiscal data.

Next steps

SPAC first used the Results First model in early 2013 to assess the fiscal impact of three proposed sentencing bills. The assessment showed that the proposals would increase Department of Corrections costs by more than $394 million over a three-year period. SPAC then released two reports in 2015 that used the Results First model: "The High Cost of Recidivism" and a follow-up supplement to that report. The documents showed that the state would spend over $16.7 billion on recidivism over a five-year period if current trends continued.

Finally, in 2016, SPAC completed the adult criminal justice component of the Results First model and released a consumer report, "A Cost-Benefit Tool for Illinois Criminal Justice Policymakers," which highlights the need for the state to invest in evidence-based programs. Next steps for SPAC include a campaign to disperse this report to appropriate decision-makers in Illinois and an update of the adult criminal justice model for the next budget cycle.

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Media Contact

Catherine An

Officer, Communications