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In this course, you have explored how policies and programs are evaluated, including the planning, design, and implementation of evaluations. But how can the effectiveness of the policies or programs be measured? In this discussion, you explore the processes involved in outcome evaluation.
Research an example of a criminal justice policy evaluation with outcomes.
Respond to the following in a minimum of 175 words:
What are some advantages and disadvantages to the evaluation method used to find the policy outcomes?
What measures are in place to determine outcome data?
How is policy outcome data incorporated into evaluation? Provide at least one example.
Respond to 2 replies to classmates or your faculty member. Be constructive and professional. (100 words response)
1)Program evaluation is one of the most important methods for assessing the process and impact of criminal justice programs and policies. In general, in program evaluations, researchers (e.g., university professors or people who work for private research organizations) work with practitioners (e.g., police or probation officers) to determine the effectiveness of programs designed to change offenders or people who might become offenders. This latter group of clients might be considered those at risk of committing crime; often, they are juveniles, but sometimes they are adults. In program evaluation researchers collect information, or data, about the program, staff, and clients; analyze it; and then report back to the program leaders and other important stakeholders regarding the results. Stakeholders might include policymakers, people who designed or developed the program, those who funded it, or interested community members. Sometimes evaluation results are then used by policymakers and practitioners to inform changes in their programs and policies.The results of program evaluations also help other jurisdictions make decisions about what types of programs to implement. For example, a county probation department might be interested in making program changes to help prevent its clients from progressing into juvenile correctional facilities (being locked up). The administration might look to other jurisdictions to determine what programs have been implemented for juveniles on probation, how well they worked, and for whom they worked. They might also look for specific details about how to implement the programs (e.g., what to include or not include as treatment components, the types of staff needed, or problems to anticipate when creating or putting a new program into operation.
An advantage when using the evaluation method is that sometimes intensive research, surveying, and meaningful conversations are had to come up with an outcome. The evaluation method is used to achieve goals. A criminal justice agency could evaluate the practices of the homicide unit to try and understand why there are so many open homicides and cold cases. An evaluation could be conducted and the findings of it could help solve more homicides. A disadvantage of the evaluation method is that it could cause resistance and discomfort to a person or group when it is occurring. An evaluation is happening because something isn’t working, or even in an attempt to try and save money. Employees may feel like the upper command or supervisors are “Nit-picking”. Asking the right questions in an attempt to collect the appropriate data for that certain situation or problem. Policy outcomes can be incorporated into evaluation by tracking the progress of the proposed changes. Identifying the objectives, measures, and benchmarks. For example, citizens in my city were concerned about being discriminated against by being subject to traffic stops more frequently than whites. The city implanted stop forms to keep up with the data of this to be transparent to all citizens of the community to show that discrimination wasn’t occurring. The stop forms data are reviewed weekly and shared to the open public.
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