Program Accountability

Traditional juvenile justice outcome evaluation focuses on recidivism rates which fail to address cost effectiveness or account for the fact that juvenile facilities serve youth whose risk to re-offend varies widely.

The innovative Program Accountability Measures (PAM) evaluation model goes beyond recidivism rate comparisons by calculating a program’s expected recidivism given the underlying seriousness of the youth served by the program. Expected recidivism is compared to observed recidivism and programs are ranked relative to how well they performed. An overall PAM score is derived from a formula which combines this recidivism effectiveness measure with a program cost effectiveness measure. The PAM Report presents standardized program scores on a scale from 1 to 100, making scores comparable to academic grades.

The JRC has been successful in replicating this model in Louisiana. In 2005, the Florida PAM Report was named a semifinalist (top five percent in the nation) in the Harvard University Innovations in American Government Awards Program.

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