Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $399,433)
The purpose of this research is to conduct an intensive, comprehensive four-month evaluability assessment (EA) of the eight Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) FY2011-funded Second Chance Act (SCA) adult offender reentry demonstration projects. These projects aim to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and promote the successful reentry of prisoners through the provision of comprehensive and coordinated services that begin before release and continue into the community, with particular emphasis on the early months following release when former prisoners are most likely to recidivate. The evaluability assessments will determine which of the eight FY2011 SCA adult projects can and should be rigorously evaluated and identify the most appropriate research design and methods for doing so in each SCA site. The results of the evaluability assessments will inform the design and execution of a comprehensive evaluation.
The evaluability assessments will examine (1) program materials; (2) program case file and administrative records review to determine data quality and generate sample size estimates; (3) direct observation of program operations; (4) analysis of BJA performance data including recidivism data; and (5) semi-structured interviews with policy-level stakeholders and program staff to assess capacity and readiness for evaluation across multiple EA domains and collect supplemental information on training and technical assistance (TTA) needs. Pre-visit phone interviews will also be conducted with SCA directors in each site to outline the objectives of the evaluability assessments and obtain updated project information.
Eight site-specific evaluability assessment reports will be delivered to NIJ. The reports will: 1) describe current SCA program operations, activities, and characteristics, including adherence to stated policies and protocols and fidelity to the SCA reentry model; 2) examine program maturity, stability, and readiness for evaluation; 3) document site capacity for evaluation, including data availability (sources, data format, and technological capabilities) and quality to support process, outcome, impact and cost analyses; 4) identify defensible, viable comparison groups, where possible; and 5) present the range of viable study design options and evaluation recommendations. A comprehensive cross-site Final Report and Executive Summary will be submitted to NIJ in week 9 of the project period. At NIJ's discretion, all nine reports may be available for dissemination to the SCA FY2011 sites, the evaluation team, and the program evaluation research community.ca/ncf