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Returns on Investments in Recidivism-Reducing Programs

report coverThis policy brief from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors discusses the economic costs of crime and the effectiveness of prison programs on reducing recidivism.

The report reviews evidence on the underlying factors that determine the value of such programs and provides estimates on their rates of return, focusing on programs delivered inside correctional facilities that address three main areas: mental health, substance abuse, and education. Findings include that certain individual programs can reduce crime as well as reduce spending by lowering long-run incarceration costs; however, the report also found that there is great variation in the effectiveness of programs, so a reallocation of funding from poorly performing programs to well-performing ones may both lower spending and improve results.