Does evidence matter in justice policymaking?
The new NIJ director said that in general, he wanted to stop funding government-subsidized programs that don’t work, to avoid a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”
His criticism wasn’t limited to the Justice Department.
Muhlhausen cited a project of the Department of Labor supporting job training for former prisoners that the agency touted while not disclosing that a randomized controlled trial showed it was ineffective.
He also cited the Hawaii-based HOPE program (Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement), which puts some criminal defendants on probation under the threat of quick punishment if they violate rules.
Muhlhausen said an initial evaluation in Hawaii found the program valuable but randomized controlled trials in other states cast doubt on it
“We have to be careful to define ‘what works,’” Muhlhausen said Thursday.