Back to top


This study examines the effectiveness of the Red Hook Community Justice Center (RHCJC) in tackling multiple problems that contribute to crime, public safety, and quality of life in the local community. This report has chapters covering: the theoretical foundations and study context; evaluation data and methods; planning RHCJC; organizational structure and staffing; community and youth programs—Housing Court and the Housing Resource Center, youth programs, community programs and public outreach, walk-in services, and resident and offender population perceptions of RHCJC; criminal court processing and sanctioning practices at Red Hook—multi-jurisdictional courtroom, arraignments, criminal case outcomes, summons cases, and offender perceptions of procedural justice; drug treatment cases; Family Court; impact on recidivism and arrests; cost efficiency analysis; and conclusions and observations--principle findings, lessons for policy and practice, implementing community court principles in centralized misdemeanor courts, and priorities for future research on community courts. Appendixes include: Propensity Score Modeling, Criminal Court; Sampling and Propensity Score Matching, Family Court; Impact of Drug Treatment on Two-Year Re-arrests for Specific Charge Types; Change Point Analysis of Red Hook Arrest Series; and Ethnographic Report—The Red Hook Community Justice Center. “This comprehensive evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center demonstrates that a community court can reduce recidivism and achieve other key criminal justice objectives by improving upon the traditional model for processing misdemeanor offenses. Moreover, the evaluation demonstrates that those improvements can be cost-effective from the viewpoint of the taxpayer. These are impressive findings” (p. 189).

A Community Court Grows in Brooklyn: A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Red Hook Community Justice Center: Final Report Cover

This study examined the validity, reliability, equity, and cost of nine juvenile justice risk assessment instruments. Though many researchers and practitioners believe that risk assessment is critical to improving decision making in the juvenile justice system, the range of options currently available makes the selection of the most appropriate instrument for each jurisdiction a difficult choice. This study was designed to provide a comprehensive examination of how several risk assessments perform in practice (p. 1). Findings are reported: according to eight risk assessment instruments; and through a comparison of results across jurisdictions and assessments by way of reliability, validity, equity, revised risk assessment instruments constructed in the study, and efficiency and cost. A discussion covers: instruments developed for general use; risk instruments developed for a specific agency; and comments from Advisory Board members and responses from the authors of this report. Risk assessment should be a simple process that can be easily understood and articulated. This study’s findings show that simple, actuarial approaches to risk assessment can produce the strongest results. Adding factors with relatively weak statistical relationships to recidivism—including dynamic factors and criminogenic needs—can result in reduced capacity to accurately identify high-, moderate-, and low-risk offenders (p. vi).

A Comparison of Risk Assessment Instruments in Juvenile Justice Cover

"Any economic study of a justice-related investment needs to use the right cost information in its calculations. The type of cost used makes a difference in the accuracy of a study’s findings, as well as its relevance for policymaking, budgeting, and practice. Vera’s Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit has published this guide to help technical users and general readers understand marginal cost—the amount of change in total cost when a unit of output changes." “This guide [in particular] instructs policy analysts how to calculate a particular kind of taxpayer costs called marginal costs for use in CBAs (cost-benefit analyses) of criminal justice programs and policies … A cost-benefit analysis aims to measure the net benefit to society, but this guide covers only costs to taxpayers and not societal costs of crime, which include fear of crime, avoidance costs, and emotional and physical harm to victims” (p. 4). Sections cover: introduction; what marginal costs are—types of government costs, short-run and long-run marginal costs, and taxpayer benefits versus taxpayer savings; how to calculate marginal costs—methods, and data collection; examples in the justice system—prisons and jails, probation and parole, courts, law enforcement, and programs; recommendations for analysts and justice agencies; resources for methods and data.

A Guide to Calculating Cover

This study documented the positive impact of drug courts in New York on re-arrest and re-conviction both. If you are looking for ways to implement an effective drug court program or are looking to improve one you already have then you will find some helpful strategies to guide your efforts. This report contains eight chapter following an executive summary: introduction; research design and methodology; profile of drug court participant characteristics; profile of drug court policy characteristics and constructs; the impact of New York State adult drug courts; differential effects based on target population; differential effects based in drug court policies and practices; and conclusions. A few of the key elements in effective drug courts are: be sure to serve a higher-risk population; maximize legal leverage; impose certain sanctions for noncompliance; and use cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based practices (EBPs).

A Statewide Evaluation of New York’s Adult Drug Courts: Identifying Which Policies Work Best Cover

Projections for the changes in Texas’ adult and juvenile correctional populations are presented. Sections contained in this report are: introduction and report highlights; arrest rates in Texas; adult correctional population projections; juvenile correctional population projections; qualitative review summary; and glossary. Appendixes explain what the methodology and assumptions for each correctional population projection.

Adult and Juvenile Correctional Population Projections: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2018 Cover

The impact of registry restrictions on sex offenders is examined by determining this population’s housing locations, recidivism patterns, and the collateral consequences they experience following residency restriction. Results show that residency restrictions do not significantly decrease the number of sex offenders who live near schools and day care centers, have a small effect on reducing recidivism, and has some effect on the stigma experienced by sex offenders. “As noted the effect of residency restrictions on sex offender residences and behavior is small, and there is evidence that the restrictions may further complicate the reentry process. As such, it is important to consider refining existing proposals to enact residency restrictions and modify current policies” (p. 72).

An Evaluation of Sex Offender Cover

“The goal of this project was to examine the effectiveness of three distinct strategies (revision of a detention index, a procedural change in review of detention decisions, and a monitoring system of detained youth) created by Maricopa County Juvenile Probation to reduce disproportionate minority contact (DMC) and the number of youth subject to detention in the County” (p. i). It appears that a combination of the three is the most effective way to reduce sentencing disparity and juvenile detention populations. In order to succeed, agencies must: clearly spell out what they intend to do and let all the staff know; continually evaluate the agency’s efforts and report those results to the staff; and be willing to change the process when it is needed.

An Impact Evaluation of Three Strategies Created to Reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact and the Detention Population: Final Report Cover

The Thinking for a Change (TFAC) program "teaches problem-solving skills, particularly when interacting with others, in order to increase rational thinking and lead to pro-social interactions and behaviors. In addition, through cognitive restructuring (aka, cognitive self-change), thought processes are modified to reduce thinking patterns that are conducive to criminal behavior, i.e., antisocial attitudes. This evaluation uses a quasi-experimental, non-random, two group pre-test post-test design, and it explores intermediate outcomes that examine whether the program has influenced participant’s self-assessment of their social problem-solving skills and approaches and their acceptance of criminal attitudes … compared to a waiting list comparison group, TFAC group completers do significantly better than their comparison group counterparts on every measure, including positive problem orientation, negative problem orientation, rational problem solving and associated subscales (problem definition and formulation, generation of alternative solutions, decision making, solution implementation and verification), impulsivity/carelessness style, and avoidance style. Moreover, the level of significance of these findings indicates that TFAC does impact participants’ understanding of social problem solving skills and approaches" (p. i). Sections following an executive summary include: introduction; cognitive-behavioral programming and the TFAC program; methodological design; Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-R) analysis of changes in social problem-solving; Texas Christian University Criminal Thinking Scale (TCU-CTS) analysis; and discussion.

Intermediate Outcome Cover

“Most assessment systems target high-risk offenders. However, standard risk and needs assessments do not necessarily identify needs that are truly criminogenic for each individual; nor do they address responsivity. This is because these systems do not inherently identify either specific strategies and programs that reflect the learning style of the offender or approaches and programs most likely to motivate each offender to change behavior. This paper describes a comprehensive approach to assessment, developed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), that successfully addresses all three objectives listed above. This methodology was originally embedded in the Client Management Classification (CMC) system and Strategies for Juvenile Supervision (SJS) assessment and supervision systems. It currently is embedded in the Correctional Assessment and Intervention System (CAIS) and Juvenile Assessment and Intervention System (JAIS) … Evaluation outcomes from six separate studies have shown that this methodology significantly reduces recidivism for both probationers and parolees and reduces institutional infractions when used in institutional settings. Results from these studies, which were conducted by different research teams in different jurisdictions across a 25-year timeframe, are summarized in this paper.” Sections included in this report are: introduction; what separates CAIS and JAIS from other assessment models; how CMC and SJS were developed; evaluations of CMC; the Texas Study, 1987; the Wisconsin Study, 1986; Council of State Governments, 2011; the emergence of CAIS and JAIS; supervision strategies; enhancing responsivity through case planning; and conclusion.

Beyond Risk and Needs Assessments Cover

“Interest in using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to help in criminal justice policymaking and planning has grown in recent years as state and local budgets have become increasingly strained. Most jurisdictions, however, have not been able to create a sustained capacity to produce and use CBA in decision making and budgeting. The Vera Institute of Justice organized a roundtable discussion to examine what factors might help jurisdictions build lasting capacity to use and perform CBA … The discussion highlighted the need for expertise in conducting cost-benefit studies. It also highlighted the need for trusted, credible organizations that can house this expertise. And participants talked about structures and processes that would help bring cost-benefit information to policymakers and integrate CBA as part of decision making” (p. 1). Topics covered include: organizations that can house CBA capacity—credibility, newly established organizations, location, and administration and funding (or covering your costs); staffing—advertising positions and searching for staff, characteristics of good staff, and other ways to staff; and making CBA part of the process—the importance of integrating CBA, CBA and the budgeting barrier, forecasts and feedback, putting your money where your mouth is, and other activities.

Building Cost Benefit Analysis Cover


Subscribe to Evaluation