Massachusetts’ Evidence-Based Approach to Reducing Recidivism

Massachusetts’ Approach to Reducing Recidivism

In March 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo invited the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to collaborate with the Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth’s Criminal Justice System. Through this effort, Massachusetts is laying the groundwork for a strong evidence-based approach to policymaking that can decrease criminal justice spending, reduce crime, and improve public safety.

Massachusetts’ Results First model uses state-specific data to compare the costs and long-term benefits of a variety of programs and policies. With guidance from the commission, officials and researchers from the commonwealth’s public safety agencies implemented the model to analyze adult criminal and juvenile justice programs. Officials used the Results First approach to:

  • Target approximately $4 million in funding toward evidence-based criminal justice programs.
  • Expand participation in effective but underused programs.
  • Educate policymakers on the high cost of recidivism.
  • Educate policymakers on the high cost of recidivism.