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Surveying Participants to Strengthen Behavioral Health-Criminal Justice Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021
2 pages

Given the importance of obtaining participant feedback as a data source for improving the quality of behavioral health-criminal justice programs, this guide identifies and suggests ways of measuring key components of participant satisfaction.


The four key components of participant satisfaction are 1) service climate; 2) program delivery; 3) performance; and 4) participant outcomes and experience. “Service climate” pertains to whether the program’s physical setting and environment contribute to fair and equitable practices that facilitate participants’ feeling they can safely receive the support needed to focus on their recovery. “Program delivery” involves delivery methods and program intervention strategies. “Performance” refers to how well the program is delivered and the quality of the services provided. “Participants outcomes and experience” refers to whether the program meets participants’ expectations and has helped them achieve positive outcomes. For each of these four key components of participant satisfaction, an example of a participant assessment statement is provided. The guide also addresses the development of participant surveys that capture respondent views on these key components. This section covers aspects of the behavioral health-criminal justice program being assessed, the survey format/structure that is easiest for participants to complete, how to assure participants they can respond honestly without consequences, and who should administer the surveys and when. The guide concludes with suggestions for ensuring the survey findings inform subsequent programming.

Date Published: June 1, 2021