commitment to evaluation research and evidence-based decision making within a culture of respect for these functions and the personnel responsible for carrying them out. Recommendations:
Agencies such as NIJ that sponsor a significant portfolio of evaluation research in criminal justice should maintain a separate evaluation unit with clear responsibility for developing and completing high-quality evaluation projects. To be effective, such a unit will need a dedicated budget, a certain amount of authority over the evaluation research budgets and project selection, and independence from undue program and political influence on the nature and implementation of the evaluation projects undertaken.
The agency personnel responsible for developing and overseeing impact evaluation projects should include individuals with relevant research backgrounds who are assigned to evaluation functions and maintained in those positions in ways that ensure continuity of experience with the challenges of criminal justice evaluation, methodological developments, and the community of researchers available to conduct quality evaluations.
The unit and personnel responsible for developing and completing evaluation projects should be supported by review and advisory panels that provide expert consultation in developing RFPs, reviewing evaluation proposals and plans, monitoring the implementation of evaluation studies, and other such functions that must be performed well in order to facilitate high-quality evaluation research.