Benefit Analysis in Criminal Justice: An Example Application to a Statewide Drug Treatment System

By Peter A. Collins | Go to book overview

Chapter 5: Managing Wicked
Problems

As stated in the introduction of this study, Idaho is currently facing major budget shortfalls. Social services, such as those associated with substance abuse treatment, are often ripe grounds for trimming costs; however, many lawmakers do understand the value of investing in treatment programs that produce economic savings over time. Currently, there is a growing demand at the state (and national) levels for cost-benefit research, especially with regard to research projects which can show where scarce budget dollars are well spent. In response to this demand, this study employed cost-benefit methods to measure the economic benefits associated with the provision of substance abuse treatment.

To lend context to the cost-benefit findings, this research utilized inter-disciplinary theoretical concepts from the fields of public policy analysis, criminal justice administration, and criminology. Notably, substance abuse is considered a complex public problem (referred to as a “wicked problem” by public policy scholars) in need of constant attention and management, and substance abuse treatment is considered a form of social support (Cullen, 1994). As detailed in the preceding chapters, when these two unique theoretical components/frameworks are combined, they offer a rich context within which the cost-benefit findings can be better appreciated and understood.

This chapter presents a discussion of the analyses provided in Chapter Four. To begin, the cost-benefit results are discussed, followed by a summary and discussion of the ICSA survey results. These two sections will conclude with a summary of the overall research questions and hypotheses. Next, these findings are discussed in the context of the theoretical framework laid out in Chapter Two. Limitations of the study

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