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If ‘Something Works’ is the Answer, What is the Question?

Israel, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-1263-8699 and Chui, W.H. (2006) If ‘Something Works’ is the Answer, What is the Question? European Journal of Criminology, 3 (2). pp. 181-200.

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The aims of the paper are to present the argument for pluralistic evaluation, by outlining and assessing the various measures that have been and might be used in the United Kingdom, and to question the value of relying on reconviction rates. Most evaluation studies of offender programmes in the community and in prison have been based on single measures, mostly the recidivism rate. Some studies have evaluated the effectiveness of particular programmes in terms of the costs or of changing the attitudes or addressing the needs and problems of offenders. However, no single measurement can reveal the full picture of the effectiveness of a particular correctional programme. This paper criticizes current evaluation-driven practice - only do things that can be measured and divert resources from delivery to fairly unimaginative evaluation. It concludes that commitment to pluralistic evaluation in principle is often compromised in practice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SAGE
Copyright: © 2019 by European Society of Criminology, SAGE Publications
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