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NCRP Data as a Research Platform: Evaluation Design Considerations

NCJ Number
252677
Date Published
June 2021
Length
35 pages
Author(s)
William Rhodes; Gerald Gaes; Ryan Kling; Jeremy Luallen; Tom Rich
Agencies
BJS-Sponsored
Grant Number(s)
2010-BJ-CX-K067, 2015- R2-CX-K135
Annotation

This paper is a discussion of selected quasi-experimental approaches that should be useful for  evaluating reforms intended to reduce incarceration for a targeted group of offenders; including, pretest-posttest designs, difference-in-difference designs, difference-in-difference-in-differences designs, and synthetic control methods.

Abstract

A hypothetical evaluation question posits that a state introduced a reform intended to reduce incarceration for a targeted group of offenders. This paper discusses how the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) data might be used to investigate what that reform accomplished. Once a state introduces a reform, an evaluator can observe what happened following that introduction, but the evaluator cannot tell what would have happened had the state not introduced that reform. This paper is a discussion of selected quasi-experimental approaches that should be useful for dealing with the above evaluation question: pretest-posttest designs, difference-in-difference designs, difference-in-difference-in-differences designs, and synthetic control methods. While not an exhaustive list of evaluation strategies, this paper aims to emphasize the analysis of panel data derived from the NCRP.

Date Created: June 9, 2021