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Exploring the Feasibility and Efficacy of Performance Measures in Prosecution and Their Application to Community Prosecution

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2005
82 pages
This study collected and analyzed empirical evidence related to the performance measurement framework for prosecution identified by the Prosecution Study for the 21st century, as applied in a traditional prosecution office and a more community-oriented prosecution office.
The study examined two of the three goals in the framework: promoting fair, impartial, and expeditious pursuit of justice, along with ensuring safer communities. Data were insufficient to draw conclusions about the third goal, i.e., promoting integrity in the prosecution profession and coordination in the justice system. In examining whether the proposed performance goals and objectives were logically related, the objectives of the two goals examined were found to be valid. These objectives were holding offenders accountable, the timely and efficient administration of justice, reduction in crime, and reduced fear of crime. The data did not support the objective of case dispositions that are appropriate for offense and offender. Available data were not sufficient to determine whether improved service delivery to victims and witnesses occurred. In determining whether performance measures are available that can be used to assess prosecutor performance, the study concluded that prosecutors have limited access to data that measure their performance; moreover, differences in data collected methods and definitions prevent researchers from conducting comparative performance analyses. The study also found that the data elements and performance measures were reasonable indicators of office performance; however, the context of the office and the jurisdiction must be taken into account. In assessing whether the performance measures and objectives group together logically so as to be empirically defensible, the study confirmed a logical relationship between the measures and the objectives specified in the framework. The study conducted interviews and data assessment in order to select performance measures based on the offices' policies and practices. 8 exhibits, 28 references, and appended data collection instruments and correlation matrixes

Date Published: July 1, 2005