In March 2013, Governor Lincoln Chafee formally invited the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to partner with Rhode Island to establish a cost-benefit model customized to examine policies and procedures in the state’s criminal justice system. The state’s work with Results First will build on an existing requirement to develop performance measures for every state-funded program and report regularly on progress towards established annual goals. The cost-benefit effort will complement the state’s Department of Corrections’ Second Chance Act Recidivism Reduction Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is intended to improve reentry services and substantially reduce recidivism among offenders released from prison, and it will complement ongoing efforts by the state’s Department of Children, Youth and Families’ in collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Evidence2Success initiative, which guides public investment toward proven programs and services to impact children’s healthy growth and development.
The Rhode Island Results First model is housed in the state’s Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, which was established in July 2012 and focuses on incorporating outcome evaluations and long-range planning into policy and budget decisions. The OMB oversees the development and use of the Rhode Island Results First model and leads a technical team that includes leadership and staff from the criminal and juvenile justice programs containing critical information, such as capacity, total budget, costs per participant, and whether the program has been evaluated within the state or is based on a proven model. This inventory has produced valuable information about the state’s use of evidence-based programs and practices for the departments of Corrections and Children, Youth, and Families; the judiciary; and other relevant agencies. Using a working group format, the team began implementing the adult criminal and juvenile justice components of the model in June 2013. To date, the team has developed a comprehensive inventory of state-funded adult criminal justice programs; the OMB released an issue brief summarizing its findings and related policy recommendations in March 2014.
Rhode Island’s goal is to use the Results First model to determine the most effective and cost-efficient methods to achieve recidivism reduction goals. The Rhode Island Results First team is also developing the model to assess child welfare programs and has begun generating a program inventory of relevant state-funded programs.