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NCJ Number: 64275 Find in a Library
Title: PROGRAM EVALUATION AND THE COURTS (FROM PROGRAM EVALUATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, 1979, BY ALBERT C HYDE AND JOY M SHAFRITZ - SEE NCJ-64272)
Author(s): C SWIDORSKI
Corporate Author: Praeger Publishers
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE IMPORTANT OF PROGRAM EVALUATION AND RESEARCH IN RESOURCE ALLOCATION BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO FACILITATE THE PROVISION OF JUDICIAL SERVICES BY COURTS IS EMPHASIZED.
Abstract: PROGRAM EVALUATION OF THE COURT SYSTEM IS INHERENTLY DIFFICULT SINCE COURTS HAVE NOT BEEN CREATED BY LEGISLATIVE BODIES TO CARRY OUT SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR SOCIAL PROGRAMS IS PROBLEMATIC. FOR EXAMPLE, HOW DOES ONE OPERATIONALIZE THE CONCEPTS OF JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, AND EQUITY? THE ABILITY TO EVALUATE COURTS IS ALSO RELATED TO THE TYPE OF COURT BEING EVALUATED. THERE ARE SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCES AMONG APPELLATE, JUVENILE, GENERAL JURISDICTION CRIINAL, PROBATE, AND TRAFFIC COURTS. LACK OF DATA OR USABLE INFORMATION IS A MAJOR OBSTACLE FACED BY EVALUATORS. RECORDKEEPING AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS SEEM TO HAVE LOW PRIORITY IN MANY ADMINSTRATIVE AGENCIES. CRIMINAL COURTS DO NOT USE A STANDARD UNIT OF REPORTING OR ANALYSIS. CASES, INDICTMENTS OR CHARGES, AND INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS ARE ALL USED AS MEASURES OF COURT ACTIVITY. THE ABILITY TO COMPARE CASE DISPOSITIONS AMONG CRIMINAL COURTS IS LIMITED, AND THE EVALUATOR'S INTEREST IN EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS SOMETIMES RUNS COUNTER TO LONG-ESTABLISHED METHODS OF COURT OPERATION. IN 1974, 38 STATES HAD SOME FORM OF STATWIDE STATISTICAL REPORTING SYSTEM. THESE SYSTEMS GENERALLY SUMMARIZED COURT ACTIVITIES AND FINANCIAL DATA. ONLY FIVE STATES AND SYSTEMS ORGANIZED AROUND SPECIFIC OFFENDER TRANSACTIONS. AS MORE ATTENTION IS FOCUSED ON COURT EVALUATION, BUILT-IN ORGANIZATIONAL INCENTIVES TO PREFER THE STATUS QUO CAN WORK AGAINST EVALUATORS. BECAUSE JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE SERVES A LEGITIMATE PURPOSE IN THE POLITICAL SYSTEM, EVALUATION MUST BE CONDUCTED IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF DETACHED PROFESSIONALISM AND OBJECTIVITY. EVALUATORS MUST BE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT COURTS, TYPES OF INFORMATION AND HOW IT IS MAINTAINED, AND COMPARABILITY OF COURT INFORMATION. NOTES ARE INCLUDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Court system; Evaluation; Evaluative research; Program evaluation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64275

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