Measuring What Works

How well do existing programs implement What Works principles?

The Correctional Program Assessment Inventory (CPAI) is an instrument that was developed to assess the degree to which a program conforms to the What Works principles. The CPAI allows a program to be assessed during a 1-2 day site visit. The results of the CPAI detail the specific strengths and weaknesses of a program in terms of the principles of effective intervention. The CPAI is designed to correlate with recidivism rates, and thus can be used as a tool in the process of developing a statewide system for the continual improvement of programs based on research and evaluation.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has already taken advantage of the free CPAI training offered through the National Institute of Corrections to provide initial training for all program monitors. Recently, program monitors participated in conducting a CPAI assessment in a residential program.

Individual perceptions of program effectiveness or stories of one or two successful youth should not be the basis for evaluating the impact of What Works. The success of What Works should instead be measured in terms of reductions in recidivism rates and the corresponding increase in public safety. The objective of this initiative is to develop the process for implementing the What Works principles in Florida.