Current Projects

The Center for Evidence-Based Corrections is currently working on the following research:

Division of Juvenile Justice Treatment Evaluation: Official Data Analysis

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the current treatment model used by the Division of Juvenile Justice.  This evaluation will cover three major areas: 1) a process evaluation, 2) a data systems and data quality evaluation, and 3) a “preliminary” outcome evaluation.  Importantly, this evaluation should be considered a “first” evaluation for the DJJ model primarily because, along with assessment, it will include recommendations to improve data quality and, thus, the quality of their future assessment capabilities.

Changes in Safety at High Desert State Prison: Official Data Analysis

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of the installation of surveillance cameras on a number of safety behaviors and perceptions by both inmates and staff at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). This prison is a test site by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine whether cameras will help reduce safety issues for both prisoners and staff.  Depending on the results of this project, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will expand the use of cameras to other prisons across the state. The report can be found under the “What’s New” section of our Publications and Presentations page.

Division of Rehabilitative Programs: DRP Program Performance Process Development

The Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP), as part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), is charged with the provision of rehabilitation and treatment programs with the goal of integrating offenders successfully into our communities.  Currently, DRP has over 41 in-prison-based rehabilitative contracts with vendors. Over the past several years, the DRP has developed a series of Program Accountability Reviews “PAR” activities as a form of contract compliance.  In the past, the process was a fairly time-intensive process to determine whether program operations, as well as budget requirements, were being met.  Recently, with the advent of the ARMS data system, in which a wealth of individual program participant data are recorded, including session attendance, treatment plans, and case notes routinely put into the ARMS system by CDCR contractors, DRP is in the process of streamlining the contract compliance process by utilizing data from the ARMS system to develop contract compliance measures.  DRP has also developed a set of quantitative performance measures and has drafted five measures of program fidelity.  This research sets out the broad parameters of a process evaluation that will integrate contract compliance, program fidelity with program implementation efforts.

The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) Staffing Study

CEBC is conducting a staffing study for The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) to review current staffing levels and develop methodologies for calculating appropriate levels of staffing across three core clinical areas – 24-hour care nursing services, protective services (hospital police), and clinical teams.  This is a validation study which will review the data and methods used by DSH for their staffing needs.

California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA)

CALPIA is a self-supporting, customer-focused business that reduces recidivism, increases prison safety, and enhances public safety by providing offenders productive work and training opportunities.  The goal of this assessment is to ascertain the official recidivism rates, among offenders who participated in any CALPIA Program.

Francisco Homes

This study sets forth a mixed methods approach to evaluating the Francisco Homes service model for lifers paroled from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the Los Angeles area.  The project will document the services that are provided, compare the Francisco Homes service model with best practices on lifers (to the extent available) and general correctional program effectiveness principles, and recommend changes to the model to align with best practices.  To the extent possible, the project will compare recidivism results of participants in the Francisco Homes program to paroled lifers who do not participate in the Francisco Homes services.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Risk Assessment Tool (LASRA)

LASRA will provide and implement a risk assessment tool, based on UCI’s California Static Risk Assessment Tool (CSRA).  UCI will modify the CSRA tool to (1) capture County inmate demographics and criminal history; and (2) interface with the Department of Justice and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Jail Information Management System.  The LASRA tool will enhance the Department’s existing classification methods by reducing the jail inmate population and efficiently identify inmates for community placement, thus helping to reduce inmate recidivism.

Arts in Corrections

The Center for Evidence-Based Corrections is currently collaborating with researchers and practitioners at the William James Association, the University of San Francisco, and the University of California, San Diego in utilizing an evidence-based approach to understanding the implementation and effectiveness of Arts in Corrections (AIC).  This effort is timely as AIC funding has recently been restored in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) after a hiatus of a number of years.  Policy makers and observers will be asking whether AIC is an effective investment in CDCR’s toolkit of rehabilitation programming.

Fiscal Challenges in State Correctional Systems: A National Study of Prison Closings and Alternative Strategies

The University of California, Irvine (UCI), RAND, and three other institutions are joining in a collaborative effort for this study.  This research requires the development of a survey to be administered via the web to heads of each of the 50 states heads of corrections.  The surveys will identify the fiscal pressures under which states are operating, policies and practices that have been adopted to deal with budget crises, including closing prisons, reducing staff and programs, changes in state sentencing structures as well as mechanisms affecting the “back end” of corrections, including parole services and revocation policies.  Background data on the current and recent budget situation for each state will be collected from public records.  Based on findings from the survey and budget situation, the project team will select 6 states that have shown innovative ways to deal with correctional shortfalls.  3-day site visits will be conducted with teams of between 2 and 3 members representing the project team organizations.  A separate task will map the strategies revealed from the surveys and site visits with current best practices in the field.  Finally a short-term economic analysis will be conducted, as well as the development of a protocol for estimating long term impacts of policies on crime and costs for states.