Monday, November 13, 2006

More Props to WSIPP

I've mentioned before that the WA State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) is the premier policy analysis body in US state government, especially as it applies to corrections sentencing, doing the sorts of things that some of us have tried to copy weakly in other jobs and setting the model that Judge Frankel proposed in his original call for better sentencing info. They've proved again their value with this new report on "what works" and the possibility of using proven alternative sanctions to reduce recidivism and attacks on taxpayers' pockets. Not only is the analysis sound, but the bibliography alone will save the rest of us hours of work when we need to look into serious topics. (We've added it to our Articles and Commentary section on the right.) I do have a quibble with its use of what I consider a very questionable study of victim costs (using civil jury awards to determine non-quantitative costs, which should set your eyebrow a bit askance), but there's not much better to use because it's such a debatable and problematic topic to begin with. Nevertheless, even though it makes their calculations troublesome, the basic points about "what works" and what doesn't if you want to make sure your corrections sentencing policy is as recidivism-effective and cost-effective as possible should be the heart of every state's discussions. Another excellent production from the WSIPP folks. WA is so lucky.

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