CJUS 615

Primary Task Response: Within the Discussion Board area, write 400 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. This will be the foundation for future discussions by your classmates. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas.

Why has criminal justice policy come to be more dependent on evidence-based evaluation? Explain this in detail.

How have practitioners and researchers collaborated more in recent years to formulate strategies to address crime issues?

What role does accountability play in considering which policies are “good” or effective?

How do policymakers evaluate policies?
What is the difference between evaluation and assessment?

Responses to Other Students: Respond to at least 2 of your fellow classmates with at least a 100-word reply about their Primary Task Response regarding items you found to be compelling and enlightening. To help you with your discussion, please consider the following questions:

What did you learn from your classmate’s posting?
What additional questions do you have after reading the posting?
What clarification do you need regarding the posting?
What differences or similarities do you see between your posting and other classmates’ postings?

Student 1
Policy making is continuously changing, as the specific needs of the criminal justice system and those going through it, are also constantly changing. By conducting research on current policies and offender programs, policy makers are able to see what has worked, is currently working, and what doesn’t. This includes not only making changes to current policies, but finding ways to implement successful programs in areas that are lacking that support. In Stan Orchowsky’s ‘An Introduction to Evidence Based Practices’, he stated that in 1996,  the ‘Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence from the Institute of Behavioral Science in Boulder Colorado conducted a study on juveniles’. During this, they were able to determine that a specific program centered on youth crime, and duplicated this program to help with the prevention of drug use and delinquency (Orchowsky, 2014). Using evidenced based evaluation helps to determine what type of programs would be beneficial, how those programs would be implanted, who would over-see them and who they would be geared to in society.
Practitioners and researchers work closely together to determine what should be in policies and what programs are deemed necessary. Researchers are asked to use an analytical approach to identifying problems and what the best possible route is to solve those problems. Practitioners are then brought in to prove ways that these ideas can be implemented and what the potential outcomes could be once they are implemented (Alpert, Rojek, & Hansen, 2013.) Both entities are responsible for discovering ways to make these programs more geared towards those who have reoffended in the past, and those at risk to reoffend, such as juveniles.
Accountability is a large piece of what lets policy makers know that their policies are actually working. By implementing polices, they are providing a department or entity with a set of rules to follow. If individuals are unable to or purposely violate these policies, then wouldn’t holding those individuals accountable could potential deter future related issues? If we are unable to do this, then then we cannot expect offenders to follow the policies either. This is why departments hold reviews and conduct surveys; to gather information, compile that information, and then compare results. This allows policy makers to see what is working, and what areas may need to be reviewed and worked on.
In order for policy makers to accurately evaluate policies, there are multiple questions that need to be considered. These questions include: how has the policy been working for the first six months? 9 months? , or what good has the policy contributed to the community or those directly affected by its implementation? It also helps policy makers gauge whether or not more funds are necessary to promote future success in different departments. There are two ways that policy makers can find the results they are looking for, which is through assessments or evaluations.  Assessments are used to ‘better understand the state or condition, by observation or measurement’ (itlal.com). This means that policy makers can use this method to determine how well the policy implementation is going, and whether or not it is successful. The term evaluation is use to ‘observe and measure for the purpose of judging and determining somethings value, either by similar comparison or to a standard’ (itlal.com). This method can allow for policy makers to compare current policies with past ones, determine what did and did not work, and then make necessary changes to future policies using this information.

Student 2
Many people wonder where policies come from and why are they in place. This is a question that I used to constantly ask myself, but it was not until I joined the military that it  all started to make sense.  Policies are implemented into every aspect of the world to help set a baseline of what to expect and to provide individuals with need to know information. There  are  many policies that are  available  to the public including drug policies, alcohol policies, sexual assault policies, etc.  Practitioners  and  researchers  have been collaborating for years to understand why evidence is needed to prove crimes. Take  police  brutality for example. Practitioners and  researchers  helped  strategize  a way to minimize police brutality by giving the force a  first-person  view of what goes on with officers. Body Worn Cameras or BWC provides the justice system with a glimpse of the action  and  helps by providing hard evidence to a possible crime if something were to happen. Although this may not be a  permanent  solution to police brutality, it does seem to be a step in the right direction and helps to minimize the  p otential crimes by law enforcement.  
     Much of the data collected by policy makers are weak, therefore, new steps were implemented in effort to build a stronger policy that targets the most violent crimes/actions. Policy makes use qualitative data when making policies. By doing this, they can grow and evolve from their original baseline policy. A step by step process including revisiting the old policy, practice, and research to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the policy. This step-by-step process is completed after various assessments and evaluations. Though many people believe they are the same, they are extremely different. Assessment are taking periodically to gauge value or importance. It is a way to identify the quality of the  po li cy ; determine the true purpose. Evaluation is more on the means of judgement, therefore, when policymakers make an assessment about a policy they are determining if the policy is worth having. When evaluations are made, policymakers have put the policy in to play and are watching for results. This gives them ground to make judgement/evaluate their policy. Like the military, most agencies and businesses conduct frequent assessments and either semi-annual or annual evaluations when determining whether they need to make personnel and policy changes. If the policy or individual is not valued or doesn’t produce a good evaluation report, there is no reason to keep him/her/it around.  Assessments are meant to help with growth; feedback is required because it is a process.  There is room to have a conversation  because both parties are concerned and want the best outcome.  Evaluations  are meant to show results; it focuses on the overall grade based on differen t   criteria . The evaluator sets the tone and there is no compromising because actions speak louder than words.  

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