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The research reported in this Note was undertaken to develop a methodology for weighing the economic costs and crime-reduction benefits of criminal sanction alternatives to incarceration. The RAND Intermediate-Sanction Cost Estimation Model (RISCEM) takes into account the daily costs of supervision, the different risks that sanctions pose to the community, the different likelihoods of detecting a new offense or technical violation, and the different probabilities of future recidivism. The model allows correctional policymakers to explore and evaluate the expanding number of supervision and treatment options that have been developed during the past decade. It can also be used to determine how effective a particular program must be in order to justify its costs. This Note describes the basic features of the model and uses national data to estimate the cost and crime-reduction impacts of intensive probation vs. prison.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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