Note: This page was updated in February 2018 to reflect new developments in the state.
In March 2012, the commonwealth of Massachusetts partnered with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. With formal letters of partnership, executive and legislative branch leaders expressed their commitment to performance management and the use of data to shape policy and budget decisions. Leaders throughout the commonwealth continue to use the Results First tools and approach to identify and invest in effective evidence-based programs that are projected to produce a strong return on taxpayer investments.
Originally, the effort was coordinated by the Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth’s Criminal Justice System, which among other responsibilities, pursued technical assistance to reduce corrections spending and utilize the savings to reduce crime, strengthen public safety, and fund other budget priorities. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, with additional support from analysts from major public safety offices including the Departments of Correction and Youth Services, Massachusetts Parole Board, Massachusetts Probation Service, the Sentencing Commission, and the Executive Department for Administration and Finance, completed a comprehensive recidivism study and presented its methods and initial findings in February 2013. The work group completed the cost-benefit model and published its findings the following fall.
After completing its criminal justice cost-benefit analysis model, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security produced several reports that highlighted a number of key findings:
Building on the findings identified in program inventory and cost-benefit analysis reports, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and other officials in multiple branches of government have used the Results First approach to inform a number of key policy and budget decisions including:
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security leadership remains committed to this approach and will continue to use the tools it developed to inform budget and policy decisions. Results First is also supporting the trial court’s goals to improve, expand, and evaluate the programs it funds and provides in the community.
In addition to these criminal justice efforts, Results First has recently partnered with the Special Legislative Commission on Behavioral Health Promotion and Upstream Prevention in Massachusetts to support the commission’s efforts to use the Results First approach to identify opportunities for investments in effective substance abuse and mental health programs. The commission is expected to produce a report and recommendations in 2018.