The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Illinois

Background

In the fall of 2011, at the request of the Gino DiVito, chairman of the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, 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.

Implementation

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

The team’s goal is to provide detailed analysis of adult criminal programs and policies to inform agency and legislative budget decisions.  The council is now using the Illinois Results First model to assess the potential impact of legislative proposals to modify sentencing requirements.  In 2014, the team plans to release a preliminary report showing the expected return on investment of current institutionally offered adult criminal justice programs.

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