Program Evaluation: How Do We Know If We Are Preventing Gang Membership?

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Decision-makers must understand the key principles of process, outcome and cost-effectiveness evaluations. Although many policymakers and practitioners understand that evaluation is critical to proving the success (or failure) of a program, most do not fully understand the role that evaluation plays in actually designing and implementing a successful gang-membership prevention program or strategy. A well-designed program evaluation can determine the effectiveness of a program — that is, it can determine whether the program (and not some other factor) caused the intended outcomes. Practitioners and policymakers should familiarize themselves with the different types of program evaluations as well as basic research design and sampling concepts that affect the quality of program evaluations.

In the Spotlight: This chapter features an interview with Raj Ramnarace, former Regional Administrator of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program’s Midwest Atlantic Region. Ramnarace currently serves with the LaCrosse, Wisc., Police Department.

Read the Changing Course chapter “Program Evaluation: How Do We Know If We Are Preventing Gang Membership?” by Finn-Aage Esbensen and Kristy N. Matsuda (pdf, 11 pages).

Date Created: September 16, 2013