Over the past 20 years the use of measurement within the criminal justice community has become increasingly normative. The need to measure the work of criminal justice professionals, institutions and interventions have helped law enforcement, correction, courts and social service providers gain an increased understanding of their work and the impact of their efforts. It has also become increasingly normative for grant making organizations in both the public and private sector to require either the submission of performance and outcome metrics or to be able to provide evidence of effectiveness. In this section we provide the both process and outcome measures for a variety of criminal justice programing and programming areas. Although collecting the types of data described in the following pages by no means guarantees success, it will provide organizations with the data to evaluate the effectiveness of a program, team or intervention.
♦ Community Corrections: Reentry and Sex Offender Programs/Strategies
♦ Courts: Drug and Mental Health
♦ Crime Prevention: Community Policing, Weed and Seed, and Gang Strategies
♦ Information Sharing
♦ Law Enforcement: Multi-jurisdictional Task Forces and Gang Strategies
♦ Substance Abuse: Methamphetamine Programs, Prescription Monitoring and Residential Treatment
♦ SAA Taskforce Performance Measures: A Look at Metrics Used to Evaluate MJTFs
Process Measure: Also used at times interchangeably with the term output measurement, a process measurement captures the basic performance of a process. This type of measurement should collect data on a variety of processes within an intervention or a program. For example, process measures would include things like admissions to a correctional facility, number of felony arrests, counseling sessions provided, number of cases processed, etc. This level of measurement is often the most basic number counting which allows staff to understand the rudimentary processes of their organizations. Often management focuses on output measures, it should be noted that these measures do not tell you about success but rather are a measure of activity. Although process measures are not necessarily predictive of outcome success they can provide real time feedback that can be acted on quickly. It is important that these measures are reviewed regularly as they are often the first piece data that indicates something is amiss within organizations daily activities.
Outcome Measure: An outcome measure is used to measure the success of a system. For example, the outcome measure could be the percentage of people who recidivate after leaving a community reentry program, the average speed of case processing, number of people successfully completing a drug treatment program, the decrease in pro-offending attitudes, etc. Outcome measures often look at high level overarching goals and objectives and help inform managers, policy makers and funding agencies on the effect of an intervention or multiple interventions. It should be understood that the type of outcome measures chosen to collect will not only determine the type of process measurements collected but should be driven by the outcomes needed for an organization to meet both its long term and short-term goals/objectives.