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Benefits and Costs of a Targeted Intervention Program for Youthful Offenders: The YouthBuild USA Offender Project

  • Mark A. Cohen (a1) (a2) and Alex R. Piquero (a3)


This paper reports on a benefit-cost analysis of a targeted intervention program, the YouthBuild USA Offender Project (YBOP), aimed at low-income, criminal offenders who are 16–24 years old. Using data on 388 participants, we find: (1) evidence of reduced recidivism and improved educational outcomes that exceed our expectations based on similar cohorts and (2) evidence consistent with a positive benefit-cost ratio, indicating that every dollar spent on the YBOP is estimated to produce a return on investment between $7.20 and $21.60, with benefits to society ranging between $174,000 and $281,000 per participant at a cost to society between $13,000 and $24,000.


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