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The NCRP Data as a Research Platform: Evaluation Design Considerations

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021
35 pages

A hypothetical evaluation question posits that a state introduced a reform intended to reduce incarceration for a targeted group of offenders. An evaluator can observe what happened following the reform’s introduction but cannot tell what would have happened had the state not introduced the reform. This paper discusses how the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) data might be used to investigate what the reform accomplished. Also discussed are 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 Published: June 10, 2021