Since 2005, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC) has evaluated program effectiveness by using a tool known as the Correctional Program Checklist (CPC). On an annual basis, both institutional and community-based programs are prioritized and selected for an initial or follow-up evaluation. Program selection is determined by any one of the following factors: number of placements, revisions to program design, safety concerns, or upon request.
The CPC is a validated assessment tool designed to quantify program quality by determining how closely correctional programs meet known principles of effective intervention. The CPC is divided into two areas: Capacity and Content. The Capacity area is designed to measure whether a correctional program has the capability to deliver evidence-based interventions and services for offenders. There are three domains within Capacity: Program Leadership and Development, Staff Characteristics, and Quality Assurance. The Content area focuses on the substantive domains of Offender Assessment and Treatment Characteristics.
Evaluations are conducted by ADJC’s Continuous Improvement Bureau (CIB). The evaluation process includes: structured interviews with staff and youth, reviews of numerous documents such as policy, treatment materials, hiring material and a sample of case files, and observation and assessment of treatment groups. The final evaluation report identifies program strengths and weaknesses, recommendations for improvement, and the program rating on its adherence to evidence-based practices which ranges from “very high adherence” to “low adherence”.
There are several advantages to the CPC. First, it is applicable to a wide range of correctional programs. Second, it allows CIB to “quantify” the quality of a program. This allows comparisons across programs, as well as benchmarking. Third, the entire process can be completed within a matter of months. Finally, it is designed to improve program effectiveness and integrity. All currently funded ADJC institutional and community-based (privately run) programs have been evaluated using the CPC tool.