In January 2012, the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, or CJC, invited the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to partner with the state to evaluate the return on investment of its adult criminal and juvenile justice programs. Governor John Kitzhaber charged the commission with incorporating cost-benefit analyses into their research and recommendations to inform policy changes to Oregon’s sentencing structure and criminal justice system.
The purpose of the nine-member, appointed commission is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state and local criminal justice systems in Oregon. The CJC conducts research, analyzes crime-related legislation, acts as a data clearinghouse, and develops Oregon’s public safety plan, which includes recommendations on the capacity and use of state prisons and local jails, implementation of community corrections programs, and methods to reduce future criminal conduct. In addition, the commission has a role in funding and evaluating the state’s drug courts.
As a leader among states in the practice of evidence-based decision-making, Oregon has brought extensive experience to its partnership with Result First. In fact, the commission began work on a cost-benefit model for the state’s criminal justice system in 2006 and issued a report on the costs and benefits of incarceration in 2007.
With support from the Public Safety Task Force, the CJC is collecting data from the adult criminal and juvenile justice agencies to inform comprehensive program inventories and populate the cost-benefit model.