185036 Collaborative evaluation of a criminal justice program

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pamela J. Walsh, PhD , School of Health Sciences, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI
David Atkinson, PhD , Community Care Services, Lincoln Park, MI
This paper describes lessons learned from a collaborative evaluation study based on empowerment evaluation. The underlying premise of empowerment evaluation is that by having the key stakeholders from the community involved in the evaluation process, there will be greater investment and willingness to utilize the results. The collaborators are Community Care Services (CCS), a non-profit community mental health and substance abuse services agency located in Lincoln Park, MI and Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI) who evaluated CCS' M-COIT Program's effectiveness in reducing felony recidivism rates and inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations among its ex-offender consumers for the 2004-2005 time periods, using retrospective client record review. The M-COIT Program is an intensive, multi-disciplinary outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment program for parolees who are mentally ill and/or have substance disorders. It is based on the National Program Standards for Assertive Community Treatment Programs with some modifications for providing services to the ex-offender population. Some of the lessons we learned from the collaboration are: 1) the need to establish a trusting relationship; 2) agree on expectations, study design, the data collection tool, and data analysis; 3) overcome biases; and 4) to develop a process to identify and resolve differences among disciplines (social work, psychology, nursing and health administration faculty). CCS will be using the study results to strengthen its M-COIT Program. The study outcomes have the potential to effect policy changes at the county level regarding treatment needs of the ex-offender population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the challenges in applying collaborative evaluation by a community based program and an university. 2. Describe the study results.

Keywords: Challenges and Opportunities, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research study with the Program Director at the agency. I have approval from the University's Human Subject's Committee.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.