Located in Tucson, approximately 60 miles from the United States’ southern border, the American Friends Service Committee’s Criminal Justice Program (CJP) seeks sentencing reform, reduction in mass incarceration, and improvement in prison conditions. Using non-partisan data analysis and research, grassroots organizing and mobilization, coalition building across the political spectrum, and public advocacy, CJP supports public dialogue and engagement on prison privatization and prison reform. Trewon was asked to evaluate the effectiveness of this public policy work for the three years prior to the evaluation.

Developing an Evaluation to Fit a Unique Advocacy Program

Our evaluation assessed whether the program achieved its overall objectives and to what extent it produced the desired effects outlined in its program plan. The evaluation addressed three overarching concerns: (1) relevance of the program to the participants, constituents, and community stakeholders, (2) effectiveness of the program, and (3) lessons learned to guide future program planning. Based on review of all data, Trewon identified key areas of growth as well as areas for modification, strengthening, and best practices to use to enhance planning and work. These recommendations were structured for feasibility of implementation and replication of elements in other AFSC programs.

Designing a Flexible Methodology and instruments

Trewon used a mixed method approach that employs quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis that included primary and secondary data sources. This process permitted triangulation of data and provided a generalizable yet contextualized picture of the program. The team developed four instruments, two interview protocols and two focus group protocols, to collect data from a diverse group of community stakeholders that included state officials, legislative lobbyist, funders, local advocates, and staff members.