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Fiscal Policy Resource Center

The Fiscal Policy Resource Center includes materials on fiscal realignment, public information requests, state budget analysis, and other fiscal-related subjects.  The goal of the Resource Center is to provide advocates, allies, policymakers, media, and others with materials to help us all better understand how money is currently being spent in juvenile justice systems across the country, and how we can better allocate those funds in order to increase public safety and improve outcomes for youth.

PLEASE NOTE: the materials posted below are not all do-it-yourself toolkits. Over time, however, we will continue to add materials and refine them to make them more useful. Please check back often. Also, members and partners can find additional materials related to juvenile justice reform and fiscal policy here (log-in required).

If you would like to suggest an item for inclusion in the Fiscal Policy Resource Center, please email us at info@njjn.org.

Click here to search NJJN's Library for a broad range of materials related to fiscal issues and funding (click "Fiscal Issues and Funding" under the Issues tab).




Budget - Orientation

NJJN Budget Glossary: A brief guide to important financial terms. 

Almost Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Budgets, but Were Afraid to Ask. Your introduction to state budgets and the budget process - a key part of understanding how to use the budget process to advance juvenile justice reform. NJJN Presentation, July 2011 (PowerPoint presentation).

Obtaining Information

How to File a Public Information Act Request, Fiscal Policy Center tool kit, September 2011.

How to Find Information Concerning a 501(c)(3) Organization, Fiscal Policy Center tool kit, September 2011.

Determining the Cost of Your Juvenile Justice System

Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analyses for Justice Programs: A resource from the Vera Institute of Justice providing a guide to creating quality, accurate cost-benefit analyses for justice-related investments. 

How to Calculate the Cost of a Youth Arrest: A step-by-step guide from NJJN on how to calculate the cost of a youth arrest in your community. Fiscal Policy Center toolkit, updated April 2013.

How to Calculate the Cost of Detaining a Youth: An NJJN toolkit with step-by-step guidance on how to calculate the cost of a detaining youth in your community. Fiscal Policy Center toolkit, May 2013

Show Us the Money: Calculating the Cost of Juvenile Justice, July 28, 2011 (PowerPoint presentation). An excellent overview of state budgets and an introduction to mapping your juvenile justice system to calculate costs.

Overview of Juvenile Delinquent Processing, New York, 2007 (handout).

Rethinking Juvenile Detention in New York City, Juvenile Justice Project of the Correctional Association of New York, March 2002 (handout).

Cost-Benefit Analyses

Juvenile Justice Cost-Benefit Analyses - Guide and Samples.  If you're preparing or reviewing a report on a juvenile justice program that attempts to show its comparative costs and benefits, do you know what should be included?  Scan our collection for examples.   

Finding Money to Fund Youth Justice

"How to Find and Use Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Information for Juvenile Justice Reform" - toolkit - October 2016. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is the primary source of federal funding to state and local jurisdictions for the justice system. Recent changes to guidelines make it easier for youth justice advocates to work to direct some of those monies to prevention, intervention, community-based treatment, and indigent defense for youth -- or, failing that, to track how current grantees are spending the money.  

Other Resources

Social Impact Bonds: Tip Sheet. This tip sheet explains what social impact bonds are, where they came from, how they work, and their benefits and pitfalls. April 2014. 

Funding Community Based Supervision: Legislative Levers to Lock In Local Funding: This tip sheet provides four examples of funding legislation that are designed to trigger discussion or re-negotiation among key participants when funding is threatened or reduced. May 2013.

How to Retain Funds for Youth Programming From the Sale or Lease of Juvenile Facilities: A "how-to" on making sure that the proceeds from your state's youth facility sales go towards helping keep kids out of the juvenile justice system. Fiscal Policy Center tool kit, May 2012. 

The Real Costs and Benefits of Change: Finding Opportunities for Reform During Difficult Fiscal Times: Strategy for advancing juvenile justice reforms in a time of fiscal uncertainty. As this paper points out, it is possible to reduce spending without sacrificing effective programming; furthermore, it is a great time to share the financial benefits of decreasing reliance on state and increasing reliance on evidence-proven community-based alternatives. June, 2010. 

Changing Priorities: State Criminal Justice Reforms and Investments in Education. This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report examines an imbalance in states between incarceration costs and investments in education. Even as states spend more on corrections, they are underinvesting in educating children and young adults, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods. State economies would be stronger over time if states invested more in education and other areas that can boost long-term economic growth and less in maintaining high prison populations. Their report lays out steps states can take to use savings from criminal justice reforms for productive purposes like education.