Correctional Program Checklist helps measure reentry program effectiveness

There are a range of tools to measure reentry program outcomes at residential and non-residential reentry centers — among the most effective is the University of Cincinnati’s Correctional Program Checklist — a tool GEO Reentry has used in collaboration with our public partners in certain instances to measure program efficacy.

Our GEO Reentry program staff apply evidence-based practices for “What Works” to reduce recidivism which have been developed by industry experts over decades of research and proven to effectively address former offenders’ criminal thinking and implement fundamental behavior change. Evaluating our programs’ efficacy on a regular basis ensures that the services, treatment, and resources GEO Reentry offers our participants adhere to the highest standards.

The University of Cincinnati’s Corrections Institute (UCCI) developed the evidence-based Correctional Program Checklist to assess correctional intervention programs like ours using a range of indicators to ascertain how closely the program in question meets known principles of effective intervention.

In developing the tool, UCCI researchers conducted numerous studies involving more than 40,000 offenders and 400 correctional programs, both adult and juvenile, and used their results to identify 77 program characteristics, or indicators, that were correlated with outcome.

The CPC is divided into two areas: capacity and content. Capacity measures whether a correctional program has the capability to deliver evidence-based interventions and services to offenders and consists of three domains: leadership and development, staff characteristics, and quality assurance. The content area focuses on the domains of offender assessment and treatment and whether a program meets the principles of risk, need, responsivity and treatment.

Each area and its domains are scored and rated as either “very high adherence,” “high adherence,” “moderate adherence,” or “low adherence.” After that, a program’s capacity, content and overall scores are compared to the average scores across all programs that have been assessed.

The CPC is especially useful as an evaluation tool because its format is applicable to a wide range of program types, including adult, juvenile, community and institutional programs. In addition, the evaluation process takes just a few days, and final reports are generated within several weeks. Another strength is the CPC not only identifies a program’s strengths and weaknesses but provides actionable recommendations to improve services and increase program effectiveness.

The University of Cincinnati-trained evaluators who gather the information to complete a CPC look to multiple sources, which may include structured interviews with the program director, staff and participants; observation of treatment groups; and a review of sample client case files, staff assessments, program curriculum, policy and procedure manuals, and ethical guidelines.

To learn more about the Correctional Program Checklist, visit the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute web page. To further explore GEO Reentry’s evidence-based approach to community supervision, read our white paper about “What Works” to reduce recidivism.