Economic Evaluation of Multisystemic Therapy for Young People at Risk for Continuing Criminal Activity in the UK. Cary, M., Butler, S., Baruch, G., Hickey, N., & Byford, S. (2013).

Objective: To evaluate whether multisystemic therapy (MST) is more cost-effective than statutory interventions that are currently available for young offenders in England.
Method: A cost-offset evaluation of MST based on data from a randomised controlled trial conducted in North London, England, comparing MST with usual services provided by two youth offending teams (YOT). Service costs were compared to cost savings in terms of rates of criminal re-offending.
Results: 108 adolescents, aged 11–17 years, were randomly allocated to MST+YOT (n = 56) or YOT alone (n = 52). Reductions in offending were evident in both groups, but were higher in the MST+YOT group. At 18-month follow-up, the MST+YOT group cost less in terms of criminal activity (£9,425 versus £11,715, p = 0.456). The MST+YOT group were significantly cheaper in terms of YOT services than the YOT group (£3,402 versus £4,619, p = 0.006), but more expensive including the cost of MST, although not significantly so (£5,687 versus £4,619, p = 0.195). The net benefit per young person for the 18-month follow-up was estimated to be £1,222 (95% CI 2£5,838 to £8,283).
Conclusions: The results reported in this study support the finding that MST+YOT has scope for cost-savings when compared to YOT alone. However, the limitations of the study in terms of method of economic evaluation, outcome measures used and data quality support the need for further research.