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Title: Evaluation on probation : developing gender-responsive and jurisdictionally appropriate evaluation systems for offender services in the British Isles
Author: Kerr, Bridget A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 1137
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is an account of the application of a structured, evidence-based Canadian instrument for the evaluation of offender intervention services (the Correctional Program Assessment Inventory-2010), and explores the limits of technology transfer between jurisdictional contexts. As well as analysis of evaluation results in two services in the British Isles, this has entailed investigation of the response made by criminal justice agencies and practitioners and how the instrument may need to be modified to operate meaningfully in diverse contexts. During this study, inter-jurisdictional application of the CPAI-2010 exposed turbulent political environments, which had far-reaching implications for the potential of evaluation. This study demonstrates that, to sustain evaluation as a resource for change and development, it must respond to and reflect the political context of agencies, integrate all relevant approaches (eg, Risk-Need-Responsivity, desistance-focused contributions, gender-responsive work, etc) and engage all key social actors (service-users, practitioners, managers, etc) in a process of reflection. Its findings indicate that adopting a motivational language, placing a service on a continuum and timing evaluation at an appropriate frequency are all factors that can reflect and ameliorate organisational difficulties. Furthermore, this study highlights that evaluation of organisational context is key to meaningful engagement with the core issues of a service, indicating the inadequacy of evaluation systems focusing solely on practice and/or outcomes. Recidivism rates may be a particularly inadequate outcome measure for women's projects, which have their emphasis on the provision of holistic and diversionary approaches, aiming to keep women (who, as a service-user group, present a low risk of re-offending in any case) out of the disproportionately punitive prison system. The innovation of this study is the development of an evidence-based evaluation approach that meets the needs of services, specifically women's projects, in the British Isles: the Swansea Service Evaluation Inventory - Women's Projects (SSEI-W).
Supervisor: Raynor, Peter ; Roberts, Susan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral