STREAM will build a European network for continuous learning and development in reducing re-offending and protecting the public. To achieve success, this requires a focus on evaluation and development of evidence based practice across a range of offender services and organisations.
Through continuous learning and networking STREAM will support EU justice organisations to work more effectively. An evaluation guidance document along with recommendations to assist services in identifying factors to achieve results will enhance effectiveness of interventions and build more efficient correctional services. Guidance will cover offender programmes, interventions and offender engagement.
STREAM will build on existing and develop new networks of practitioners, academics and policy makers and scope for a centre of excellence on Probation which could allow for exchange of effective practice and increase mutual understanding of the importance of both the organisational context and evaluation in developing effective services.
STREAM is funded by the European Commission Directorate General Justice.
Grant agreement for project reference: JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/2892.
The STREAM project would like to thank all of those who have participated in reasearch and final conference for all of their support. Keep checking the website for updates.
Good evaluation is essential
There are great advantages to taking an evaluative approach to your work with people supervised in the community; to help you answer important questions associated with what works best in your own context.
Data collection and analysis is required for other procedures, not just for evaluation.
A useful structure for assessing the quality of evaluation is provided.
There are various advantages and disadvantages to the data collection methods available.
Processes for handling quantitative data are designed to make it easier to count.
What to evaluate
New initiatives, special programmes and new ways of working are the prime targets for evaluation because we need to be clear that the new ways are more effective than the old. However, there is also a need to evaluate existing practice with the same rigour. Such evaluations do not need to be on a large scale, and there is great value in small-scale evaluations that have clear objectives and appropriate methods. For instance, individuals who work with offenders evaluating their own one-to-one work can highlight important issues. It is often possible to make small modifications to existing data collection or reporting processes to provide the basis for more systematic evaluation of working methods.
The reduction of offending is generally the ultimate aim of work with offenders, but this is usually addressed by focussing on one or more aspects or issues that are related to offending, such as substance abuse or antisocial attitudes. In order to better understand the relationship between such factors and changes in offending behaviour it is important that the immediate objective(s) of such work is assessed. These are often known as intermediate outcomes.