Outcome Measures for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Programs

Victoria University Law and Justice Journal, 5: 23-33, 2015

11 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2016 Last revised: 18 Feb 2018

See all articles by Caroline Spiranovic

Caroline Spiranovic

Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania

Helen Cockburn

University of Tasmania

Lorana Bartels

Australian National University (ANU) - ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Roberta Julian

University of Tasmania

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Within the ‘what works’ literature, recidivism is typically embraced as the sole or primary outcome measure of success for offender intervention programs. Often, no account is taken of other important measures for evaluating program success. As such, our understanding of what works is based largely on programs that have demonstrated effectiveness with respect to reduced recidivism rates. Focusing specifically on tertiary prevention approaches for juvenile offenders, this article argues that there are significant limitations in using rates of recidivism as the primary outcome measure of program success. Firstly, this article explores the importance generally of incorporating a comprehensive evaluative framework into program design. Secondly, the limitations of relying upon recidivism as the sole or primary outcome measure in program evaluation are outlined. Thirdly, this article briefly describes the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) model and the Good Lives Model (GLM) as examples of models that can be used to inform the selection of appropriate outcome measures for program evaluation. This article then offers three examples of recent outcome evaluation studies which sought to determine the effectiveness of post-sentencing tertiary intervention programs for juvenile offenders using a broad range of indicators of success. Finally, the article suggests alternative outcome measures that might be usefully incorporated in future program design, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of existing programs.

Keywords: Juvenile Justice, Recidivism, Good Lives Model, Qualitiative Research

Suggested Citation

Spiranovic, Caroline and Cockburn, Helen and Bartels, Lorana and Julian, Roberta, Outcome Measures for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Programs (2015). Victoria University Law and Justice Journal, 5: 23-33, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2856069

Caroline Spiranovic

Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

Helen Cockburn

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

Lorana Bartels (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods ( email )

Beryl Rawson Building (13)
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

Roberta Julian

University of Tasmania ( email )

French Street
Sandy Bay
Tasmania, 7250
Australia

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