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From ‘what works’ to ‘how things work’: Strategies for Harmonising Criminal Justice Practice with the Relevant Evidence-Base

Pamela Ugwudike, Peter Raynor, Gemma Morgan, Bridget Kerr

British Society of Criminology Conference, Plymouth University

Swansea University Author: Pamela Ugwudike

Abstract

This paper presents the findings from ongoing evaluations of frontline youth justice and probation practice in Wales. The Swansea Service Evaluation Team (SSET) (which is based in Swansea University) is conducting the evaluations. Unlike many evaluations that overlook the processes of service delive...

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Published in: British Society of Criminology Conference, Plymouth University
Published: 2015
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa24964
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Abstract: This paper presents the findings from ongoing evaluations of frontline youth justice and probation practice in Wales. The Swansea Service Evaluation Team (SSET) (which is based in Swansea University) is conducting the evaluations. Unlike many evaluations that overlook the processes of service delivery, and focus on practice outcomes, SSET’s evaluations have focused on a relatively under-researched aspect of criminal justice practice. The evaluations have sought to unlock what has been described as the ‘black box of supervision’ (Bonta et al. 2008). This pertains to the actual processes through which frontline criminal justice practitioners deliver interventions and other supervision services. A key objective of the evaluations is to ascertain the extent to which frontline practice is aligned to the existing evidence-base. Another objective is to explore how best to harmonise frontline practice with the evidence-base. By exploring these issues, SSET seeks to draw attention to what the evidence-base tells us about ‘how things work,’ or in other words, how to implement skills and strategies that produce positive outcomes. Examples of positive outcomes include effective service user engagement during supervision and reduced reconviction. This paper discusses the findings emerging from the evaluations, alongside potential means of enhancing the specificity of the evaluation tool SSET employs. Dr Pamela Ugwudike Reference:Bonta, J., Rugge, T., Scott, T., Bourgon, G., and Yessine, A.K. (2008) ‘Exploring the Black Box of Community Supervision’. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 47(3), 248–270.
College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law