Exploring the identification, validation, and categorization of the cost and benefits of criminal justice in mental health: the PECUNIA project

Luca M. M. Janssen*, Irina Pokhilenko, Silvia M. A. A. Evers, Aggie T. G. Paulus, Judit Simon, Hans-Helmut Koenig, Valentin Brodszky, Luis Salvador-Carulla, A-La Park, W. Hollingworth, Ruben M. W. A. Drost, PECUNIA Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background Mental health disorders and their treatments produce significant costs and benefits in both healthcare and non-healthcare sectors. The latter are often referred to as intersectoral costs and benefits (ICBs). Little is known about healthcare-related ICBs in the criminal justice sector and how to include these in health economics research. Objectives The triple aim of this study is (i) to identify healthcare-related ICBs in the criminal justice sector, (ii) to validate the list of healthcare-related ICBs in the criminal justice sector on a European level by sector-specific experts, and (iii) to classify the identified ICBs. Methods A scientific literature search in PubMed and an additional grey literature search, carried out in six European countries, were used to retrieve ICBs. In order to validate the international applicability of the ICBs, a survey was conducted with an international group of experts from the criminal justice sector. The list of criminal justice ICBs was categorized according to the PECUNIA conceptual framework. Results The full-text analysis of forty-five peer-reviewed journal articles and eleven grey literature sources resulted in a draft list of items. Input from the expert survey resulted in a final list of fourteen unique criminal justice ICBs, categorized according to the care atom. Conclusion This study laid further foundations for the inclusion of important societal costs of mental health-related interventions within the criminal justice sector. More research is needed to facilitate the further and increased inclusion of ICBs in health economics research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0266462320000471
Pages (from-to)418-425
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Criminal justice intersectoral costs and benefits
  • Health economics research
  • Mental health
  • Methodology
  • Societal perspective

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