Washington State can save $2 billion by not building new prisons while it reduces crime by adopting evidence-based anticrime programs, says Steve Aos of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Aos outlined the program yesterday at a conference on cost-benefit analysis and crime control sponsored by the Washington-D.C. based Urban Institute and the British consulting firm Matrix.
Aos and colleagues recently issued a report on proved programs that prevent crime or help adult and juvenile offenders reduce future crime. For example, providing juvenile offenders on probation with “functional family therapy” reduces recidivism by nearly 16 percent and saves the government about $32,000 per participant through crime reduction. Intensive supervision for adult offenders and treatment-oriented programs reduce recidivism nearly 17 percent and save govenrment $11,563 per participant. Washington State forecasts needing about 23,000 prison beds by 2015 compared with the current 19,000.