The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in New York

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in New York


At the end of 2011, New York decided to move forward with a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis model to serve the public safety sector, driven by the belief that the Results First approach would support the objectives of reducing crime and lowering prison and jail populations. The decision to adopt cost-benefit work was a natural extension of New York's commitment to data-driven decision-making. Technical responsibility for the Results First model was centralized at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, or DCJS, but its output is available to serve all of the criminal justice agencies within public safety agencies of the executive branch.


The criminal justice division was selected because of its role as a multifunctional support agency with a wide range of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data, administration of federal and state funds, and support of public safety-related agencies across the state through research and best practice recommendations.  The technical team responsible for implementation oversight at DCJS includes a deputy commissioner, a project coordinator, and a research analyst. In addition to having access to a wealth of criminal justice data, the division serves as the state's statistical analysis center and its administering agency for funds from the federal Office of Justice Programs. Taken together, these factors make DCJS an optimal location for the placement of New York's cost-benefit model. DCJS completed initial implementation of the adult criminal justice component of the Results First model in fall 2013 and issued a gross impact report in October 2013.

Policy impact

The state’s Results First work garnered gubernatorial recognition in the 2013 and 2014 State of the State reports and has been included in recent requests for proposals and social impact bond efforts. In fact, the state awarded $5 million in late 2013 through a competitive grant process to programs that are alternatives to incarceration. These employ cost-benefit analyses, verify that programs are implemented with fidelity, and conduct outcome evaluations to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used effectively and are producing the maximum public safety return.

Next steps

New York is committed to ensuring that cost-benefit analysis becomes a fully integrated part of the way the state does business. DCJS plans to issue a net impact report and brief policymakers on results in fall 2014. It is expected that findings from Results First analyses will  help inform fiscal 2015–16 budget development, which begins in late fall 2014.

Learn more about our state work.