Friday, March 24, 2017

Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group reviews preliminary Results First data

Dr. Brad Myrstol, Justice Center faculty and director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and the  Alaska Justice Statistical Analysis Center (AJSAC),  presented Results First benefit to cost model estimates on a dozen Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) programs to the Alaska Criminal Justice Working Group (ACJWG)  in Juneau last week.  Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger,  Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth,  Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams, Mental Health Trust Authority Chief Operating Officer Steve Williams, were among those who responded to the findings with vigorous discussion, including how results might be used to inform future decision-making by policy makers and program heads in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Brad Myrstol
Dr. Araceli Valle
Dr. Myrstol and Dr. Araceli Valle, AJiC research professional, fielded questions from the working group regarding how costs of programs were determined as well as how recidivism rates were calculated. They told the working group that program costs were provided by ADOC and only the state’s investment in programs was used to calculate each program’s benefit cost ratio, a monetary measure of the state’s return on investment. Estimates of recidivism reduction and victimization costs avoided when recidivism is reduced were derived from research conducted outside of Alaska.

Alaska is one of more than 30 jurisdictions throughout the country to partner with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. The initiative  uses innovative research tools to analyze the benefit cost ratio of evidence-based programs designed to reduce recidivism.

“The presentation went well,” Dr. Myrstol said. “It generated a lot of discussion and gave the group a lot to think about how this specific resource can be used to inform future program investment decisions.”

Other programs to be run through the Results First adult criminal justice model include therapeutic courts, ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program), and Alaska’s batterers’ intervention programs.