Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs

Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs

Committee on Law and Justice

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs Committee on Law and Justice Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. LJXX-I-03-02-A, between the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Department of Justice. Support of the work of the Committee on Law and Justice is provided by the National Institute of Justice. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09706-1 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2005). Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs. Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs. Committee on Law and Justice, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs COMMITTEE ON IMPROVING EVALUATION OF ANTI-CRIME PROGRAMS Mark W. Lipsey (Chair), Center for Evaluation Research and Methodology, Vanderbilt University John L. Adams, Statistics Group, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA Denise C. Gottfredson, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, College Park John V. Pepper, Department of Economics, University of Virginia David Weisburd, Criminology Department, Hebrew University Law School Carol V. Petrie, Study Director Ralph Patterson, Senior Program Assistant

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs COMMITTEE ON LAW AND JUSTICE 2004 Charles Wellford (Chair), Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland at College Park Mark H. Moore (Vice Chair), Hauser Center for Non-Profit Institutions and John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University David H. Bayley, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, SUNY Alfred Blumstein, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University Richard Bonnie, Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, University of Virginia Law School Jeanette Covington, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University Martha Crenshaw, Department of Political Science, Wesleyan University Steven Durlauf, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison Jeffrey Fagan, School of Law and School of Public Health, Columbia University John Ferejohn, Hoover Institution, Stanford University Darnell Hawkins, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois, Chicago Phillip Heymann, Harvard Law School, Harvard University Robert L. Johnson, Department of Pediatric and Clinical Psychiatry and Department of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, New Jersey Medical School Candace Kruttschnitt, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota John H. Laub, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland at College Park Mark W. Lipsey, Center for Evaluation Research and Methodology, Vanderbilt University Daniel D. Nagin, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University Richard Rosenfeld, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri, St. Louis Christy Visher, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute, Washington, DC Cathy Spatz Widom, Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School Carol V. Petrie, Director Ralph Patterson, Senior Program Assistant

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs Preface Billions of dollars have been spent on crime prevention and control programs over the past decade. However scientifically strong impact evaluations of these programs, while improving, are still uncommon in the context of the overall number of programs that have received funding. The report of the Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs is designed as a guide for agencies and organizations responsible for program evaluation, for researchers who must design scientifically credible evaluations of government and privately sponsored programs, and for policy officials who are investing more and more in the concept of evidence-based policy to guide their decisions in crucial areas of crime prevention and control. The committee could not have completed its work without the help of numerous individuals who participated in the workshop that led to this report. We are especially grateful to the presenters: John Baron, The Council for Excellence in Government; Richard Berk, University of California, Los Angeles; Anthony Braga, Harvard University; Patricia Chamberlain, Oregon Social Learning Center; Adele Harrell, the Urban Institute; Steven Levitt, University of Chicago; Robert Moffitt, Johns Hopkins University; Lawrence Sherman, University of Pennsylvania; Petra Todd, University of Pennsylvania; Alex Wagenaar, University of Minnesota; and Edward Zigler, Yale University. The committee thanks Sarah Hart, the director of the National Institute of Justice, for her ongoing encouragement and interest in our work, Patrick Clark, our program officer, and Betty Chemers, the director of the Evaluation Division, who both provided invaluable guidance as we developed the workshop themes. The committee also

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs thanks all of those who gave of their time and intellectual talents to enrich this report through their participation in the workshop discussion of the papers. We have included biographical sketches of committee members and staff as Appendix A and also a complete list of workshop participants as Appendix B of this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Philip J. Cook, Department of Public Policy, Duke University; Brian R. Flay, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago; Rebecca A. Maynard, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania; Therese D. Pigott, Research Methodology, School of Education, Loyola University, Chicago; Patrick H. Tolan, Institute for Juvenile Research and Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Jack L. Vevea, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Brian Junker, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Mark W. Lipsey, Chair Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs

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Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   7 2   What Questions Should the Evaluation Address?   14 3   When Is an Impact Evaluation Appropriate?   22 4   How Should an Impact Evaluation Be Designed?   34 5   How Should the Evaluation Be Implemented?   45 6   What Organizational Infrastructure and Procedures Support High-Quality Evaluation?   54 7   Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations: Priorities and Focus   61     References   68     Appendixes     A   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff   73 B   Participant List: Workshop on Improving Evaluation of Criminal Justice Programs   76

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