Campbell systematic reviews

Browse by Coordinating Group


See all reviews

Campbell plain language summaries

Browse by Coordinating Group


See all PLSs
Benefit-cost analyses of sentencing

Additional Info

  • Authors: Cynthia McDougall, Mark A. Cohen, Amanda Perry, Raymond Swaray
  • Published date: 2008-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s): Crime and Justice
  • Type of document: Protocol, Review
  • Volume: 4
  • Issue nr: 10
  • Category Image: Category Image
  • Title: Benefit-cost analyses of sentencing
Download files:
Objectives

The objective of the review was to identify and assess the quality of studies of the costs and benefits of different sentencing options. Results from nine benefit-cost studies and 11 cost-effectiveness studies are reported in narrative and tabular form. Benefit-cost ratios are presented alongside benefit-cost outcome measures.

Search strategy

Pre-screening and hand-searching of published and available unpublished literature was completed by two independent reviewers. The structured searches were carried out on studies published between 1980-2001, using nine electronic databases and by consulting experts in the field.

Selection criteria

Studies were included in the review if they contained information on the costs and benefits of sentencing options. Due to the small number of benefit-cost studies found, cost-effectiveness study outcomes were also retained.

Data collection and analysis

Results from nine benefit-cost studies and 11 cost-effectiveness studies are reported in narrative and tabular form. Benefit-cost ratios are presented alongside benefit-cost outcome measures. The quality of studies is reported using the Maryland Scientific Scale (Sherman, Farrington, Welsh & Mackenzie, 2002) and a Benefit- Cost Validity Scale - Revised (Cohen & McDougall, 2008, Appendix 1).

Main results

The review found only nine studies providing costs and benefits information. Due to the small number of studies uncovered by the review and, in some cases, poor methodologies, it has not been possible to draw firm conclusions from the individual studies in order to make comparisons between studies on the benefit-cost of particular sentencing options. Tentative conclusions are drawn, where supporting evidence is available, and the authors recommend improved quality of research design and the development of standardized methodologies for assessing the costs and benefits of criminal justice interventions.

Reviewers’ comments

Due to the small number of studies uncovered by the review and, in some cases, poor methodologies, it has not been possible to draw firm conclusions from the individual studies in order to make comparisons between studies on the benefit-cost of particular sentencing options. Tentative conclusions are drawn, where supporting evidence is available, and the authors recommend improved quality of research design and the development of standardized methodologies for assessing the costs and benefits of criminal justice interventions.

Contact Us

  • P.O. Box 222, Skøyen ,
    N-0213 Oslo, Norway
  • (+47) 21 07 81 00
  • (+47) 23 25 50 10
  • Web: tkristiansen@campbellcollaboration.org
  •  info@campbellcollaboration.org