Improving the Evaluation of Criminal Justice Programs

Mark W. Lipsey, Vanderbilt Inst.for Public Policy Studies
David L. Weisburd, Hebrew University/University of Maryland
Denise C. Gottfredson, University of Maryland at College Park

The participants in this session will review recent events that have focused attention on the quality of evaluation research on criminal justice programs and discuss some of the more problematic aspects of such research. The session will begin with an overview of the concerns that have been raised about the current state of evaluation research in criminal justice, drawing mainly on a National research Council report of a workshop related to this topic (Lipsey). Next, the central and contentious issue of what methods should be used for outcome evaluations, and the related question of the value and feasibility of randomized control designs, will be examined (Weisburd). Following that, consideration will be given to a critical but often neglected aspect of evaluation, ascertaining how well the program has been implemented and its influence on the outcomes (Gottfredson).

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Updated 05/20/2006