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Criminal Justice System Project Final Report of Evaluation Findings: Critical Components for Successful Criminal Justice System Planning

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2001
188 pages
This report presents the findings from a 3-year evaluation of a national demonstration project entitled, "The Criminal Justice System Project" (CJSP), whose primary goal was to develop an effective system of correctional sanctions.
The CJSP was developed to address the system wide sanctioning needs within the jurisdictions participating in the project, using facilitated local planning teams supported by information from a comprehensive system assessment. The principal objective of the evaluation was to assess the utility and effectiveness of the CJSP process in the demonstration sites. The evaluation examined a variety of process, intermediate output, and project outcome measures. The evaluation resulted in recommendations for starting up and sustaining momentum in a project of the CJSP's scope and breadth. The recommendations are grouped into the following phases: site selection, formation of the policy team, start-up, information gathering, planning, maintaining momentum, and creating the capacity to implement change. The five recommendations for the site selection phase are intended to assist the National Institute of Corrections in evaluating the sites' readiness to engage in this type of work. The four recommendations for the formation of the policy team pertain to the membership, size, and structure of the team. The eight recommendations for start-up activities suggest a clear picture of the steps in the project and the expected interim and final outcomes of the project; guidelines to govern how the policy team members will interact and make decisions; and clear role definitions. The six recommendations for the information gathering phase promote data-driven decision making; and the four recommendations for the planning phase focus on the development of a written plan that describes the collective vision of the site, the strategic issues and the long-range objectives, and action plans for the initial steps to be taken for plan implementation. The five recommendations for maintaining momentum address setting goals, establishing performance measures, monitoring progress and performance, and celebrating successes. The three recommendations for creating the capacity to implement change focus on learning how to ask the right questions and having tools for analyzing problems as a means of creating sustainable capacity to continue the work of the policy team. Appended collaborative survey findings

Date Published: May 1, 2001