In an effort to put science before politics when managing state correctional populations, the UC Irvine Center for Evidence-Based Corrections taps the research power of the University of California to evaluate juvenile and adult prison programs – including rehabilitation, parole and reentry programs – and provide information that helps corrections officials make policy decisions based on scientific evidence. The Center has received start-up and renewal funding by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Additional support has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the California Policy Research Center.

The Center’s mission is threefold:

  • To identify promising programs and evidence-based practices from the scientific criminological literature;
  • To initiate and execute original research that addresses criminal justice policy questions relevant to California;
  • To assist The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agencies to implement and evaluate these practices.

Evidence-based policy is an approach that helps people make well-informed decisions about policies and programs by putting the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation. This approach stands in contrast to opinion-based policy, which relies heavily on either the selective use of evidence (e.g., on single studies irrespective of quality) or on the untested views of individuals or groups, often inspired by ideological views and speculative conjecture.

To contact the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections, please call 949-824-7372, fax 949-824-0302, or e-mail jmerrell@uci.edu.