Measuring and valuing societal and offender preferences for treatment programs - an economic perspective

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Embargoed until 2022-03-01
Copyright: Nalukwago, Stella Settumba
Introduction The global offender population has rapidly increased over the past two decades. In Australia, incarceration rates have increased by 98% since 2000 with violent offences comprising the largest proportion. Research indicates that most violence can be classified as impulsive rather than premeditated, and that impulsive offenders are more likely to respond positively to treatment interventions than premeditated offenders. Despite the existence of interventions aimed at reducing reoffending, little is known about society’s or offenders’ preferences for such interventions, or value placed on them. This PhD aims to assess societal and offender perspectives and value placed on treatment programs for impulsive-violent offenders. Methods A systematic review of economic evaluations of treatment programs for offenders highlighted the dearth of economic evidence. Two economic methods - discrete choice experiment (DCE) and contingent valuation (CV) – were used. A randomised control trial (REINVESt), providing pharmacotherapy treatment to impulsive-violent offenders, currently underway in New South Wales (Australia) provided the base for quantifying and valuing preferences. Prior to conducting the DCE and CV, qualitative methods (focus groups, in-depth interviews), priority setting methods of voting and ranking, and a Delphi method were undertaken to identify important characteristics of programs for impulsive-violent offenders. Results The 23 characteristics generated using qualitative methods were reduced to 8 attributes and then used to develop the DCE and CV questionnaires. DCE results from 1021 community-based respondents demonstrated society’s preference for programs that: are more effective; provide full as opposed to partial treatment of co-occurring health conditions; are compulsory; have flexible appointments; and are continued post-prison. The CV study showed that society placed a high value for treatment programs such as REINVESt and were willing to pay an additional annual tax of $70 for them. Conclusion The studies included in this thesis demonstrate that economic methods can be used to value programs in the justice area and provide a measure of the societal value/benefits of treatment programs for impulsive violent offenders. Additionally, this work demonstrates that when provided with relevant information, society places a positive value on treatment programs for impulsive-violent offenders.
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Nalukwago, Stella Settumba
Butler, Tony
Shanahan, Marian
Chambers, Georgina
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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