Reply must be at least 200-300 words. For each thread, you must support your assertions with at least 2 citations from sources such as your textbook, peer-reviewed journal articles, and the Bible.
Textbook: Vito, G. F., & Higgins, G. E. (2015). Practical program evaluation for criminal justice. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. ISBN: 9781455777709.
Evaluating a criminal justice program on its process and implementation is an evaluation of how the program itself is functioning and if it is functioning the way it was designed to. The National Research Council (2005) noted that recent criticism of criminal justice program research evaluations indicated that greater attention to the “quality of evaluation design and the implementation of evaluation plans” was needed. Methods of research evaluation in this stage would be centered on the need for the program, the design of the program, the implementation of the program, and the cost-effectiveness. Questions that would need to be asked are those that address the need for the program as it relates to the problem or criminal activity it addresses. Questions about the conceptualization or design of the program would address the targets of the program and their appropriateness to the desired change. Program implementation questions center on the program being delivered to the intended persons sufficiently and how well the program is being administered. The cost and effectiveness of the program must also be addressed by determining if the cost is reasonable in relation to the services being provided or the “magnitude of the intended benefits.”
Vito and Higgins (2015) described the process evaluation as a focus on the “monitoring of the program and implementation of the original plan for it.” This is how you determine if the program is functioning the way it was intended to in the original plan. During the process evaluation scope and design of the project should be reevaluated in order to determine if there needs to be any change or corrective action applied. It is much easier to redirect the program early in the process rather than having to assess the damage it caused by its failure. A careful evaluation of the program attributes is needed. Diagnosing the operations and component parts of the program will determine and possible success or failure causes. Evaluation of the program reaching the intended target will determine who the program is reaching and failing to serve.
Evaluations of Program Effects
Evaluating the effects of a criminal justice program will determine if there has been a change for the better or not. Programs can still be designed and implemented in an efficient way but can still fail to meet their objectives or create positive change for their stakeholders. Vito and Higgins (2015) referred to this evaluation as the “outcome evaluation.” It is done to determine if the “program, project, or policy has been effective and met its intended goals.” It is necessary to have data from the groups of those that were served by the program and those that were untreated in order to have a comparison of what would have happened if the program had not been implemented. Evaluation is needed to determine if the program met the needs of the target participants and if the program delivered services as it was designed to do.
Outcomes can be measured by evaluating participants that were not served by the program or using comparison participants to determine if any change was a result of the program itself. Rossi, et al (2004) noted that the impact evaluations are designed to determine if a program made an actual change to a participant or target’s characteristics. In some cases, the change may be related to another factor outside of the program itself. The evaluation must also include a look at the “program impact theory, mission, goals, and objectives.” Prior research may also be an important part of the evaluation in determining unintended consequences or results that may not have been anticipated.
Program evaluations give proper insight and develop recommendations that can improve future research. It is important to determine if the target of the research was impacted properly or if the program itself was a fault. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3, KJV).