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AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC POLICY BOOK NOTES Outcome Evaluations and Impact Evaluations: Goal of outcome and impact evaluations: o To establish whether a policy is associated with some intended outcome or set of outcomes (outcome evaluation) o To determine whether the association is causal (impact evaluations) Illustrate complexities Show how the specific comparisons and in such evaluations may influence the findings and how we interpret them Outcome evaluations and impact evaluations are critical for criminal justice policy We want to promote effective policies and weed out ineffective ones These ultimately provide the foundation for demonstrating policy effectiveness more convincingly What Are Outcome and Impact Evaluations? o Outcome and Impact Evaluations: Step 4 in the Hierarchy Outcome evaluations describe the types and levels of outcome associated with a particular policy Impact evaluations go one step further by establishing whether a policy not only is associated with the outcomes but also whether it actually produces or causes them They involve related efforts Outcome evaluations identify types, levels, or changes in an outcome or set of outcomes and their association with some policy Outcome evaluations do not allow us to make causal claims Causal claims can be made easily, but establishing them empirically is a challenge Common sense leads to incorrect assumptions The increased emphasis on accountability and evidence-based practice dictates that criminal justice policies should be found to be effective through research rather than incorrect assumptions about what works Associations frequently occur even when no real effect exists Associations appear compelling if coupled with a logical argument about why the association reflects a causal relationship An outcome evaluation provides the initial groundwork for making causal claims but provides little to no comparative framework for establishing causality An impact evaluation directly establishes whether a policy produces specific outcomes and does so by using control groups or condition Employs a comparative framework and in doing so, transforms an outcome evaluation into a study that can make a more credible claim about causality Outcome evaluations prompt policy makers and criminal justice administrators to clarify the relevant criteria for identifying policy effectiveness They can be used to hold agencies and organizations accountable Implementation evaluation establish accountability by showing that expected activities, services, or practices were undertaken as intended Outcome evaluation establish accountability by showing that the outcomes have or have not occurred o A Closer Look at Outcomes: Outcome: the state of the target population or the social conditions that a policy is expected to have changed Ex: how well inmate learn to interview and whether they obtain jobs or commit crime in prison re-entry programs Output:
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