Justice policymakers must make tough decisions with limited resources. Any number of investments, whether in law enforcement, corrections, probation—or even programs outside the justice system, such as early childhood education—can promote public safety. Increasingly, government officials and other decision-makers are turning to cost-benefit analysis—an economic tool that compares the costs of programs with the benefits they deliver—to help weigh these options.

To help researchers and policymakers build their capacity to conduct cost-benefit studies and apply cost-benefit analysis to decision-making, Vera developed the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB). Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) from 2010 to 2014, Vera provided training and technical assistance to criminal justice researchers and practitioners.

Project Objectives

  • To help criminal justice decision-makers effectively choose investments that produce the greatest net benefit to society.

  • To help practitioners build their capacity to conduct cost-benefit analysis.