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Increasing Evidence-Based Programs in Criminal and Juvenile Justice: A Report From the Front Lines

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2005
16 pages
This paper examines the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice’s overall social science research portfolio and the progress made and taken toward high quality program evaluation with emphasis on evidence-based programs.
Over the last 5 years, there has been an increased emphasis on evidence-based programs in the United States, particularly evaluation research. The U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is facing great challenges as it seeks to fund and manage high quality evaluation research. NIJ has taken important steps to improve its evaluation research funding process and steps to improve its oversight and management of ongoing evaluation research. It remains to be seen whether NIJ’s efforts will lead to an overall increase in the thoroughness of NIJ-supported evaluations. In order to see more progress towards high quality evaluations, four things must occur: (1) more attention placed on developing and using performance measures and data systems to monitor and improve program performance; (2) the researcher-practitioner partnership needs to be encouraged and strengthened; (3) more attention needs to be paid to strengths and limitations of various methods; and (4) a consistent and effective manner in identifying “what works.” NIJ is the Federal research, development, and evaluation agency located within the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and is devoted to criminal justice research. Evaluation assessments are a key strategy that NIJ relies on heavily to identify programs that have a high likelihood of being successfully evaluated. Due to demands by the Federal Government for accountability, linking budget allocation with program performance, NIJ is undertaking a number of efforts to improve the quality of evaluation research and address the need for evidence-based programs. References

Date Published: January 1, 2005