Feedback and Evaluation
Determining whether all the program activities and expended resources have achieved their intended result is important. Therefore, communities need to obtain structured feedback by conducting an evaluation of the eight foundation elements. Adjustments may have to be made based on recommendations from participants. Some evaluations will require the elimination of unsuccessful programs or the creation of new ones. If the feedback indicates that programs are working successfully, an evaluation will still provide important information that can be used to sustain support for the overall program. The evaluation should be creative, as it will help sell the program to people who will engage in these projects.
There are many ways to evaluate DUI enforcement efforts. Surveys of justice system personnel, members of public interest groups, parents, high school students, and juvenile DUI offenders themselves can all yield valuable answers as to how well the program is working. Other approaches are quantitative rather than qualitative: testing to see whether specific numerical targets, or milestones, have been met is a necessary component of the evaluation phase. Data should be collected on changes in the number of DUI crashes, arrests, prosecutions, convictions, and other results. If communities calculate how much they have spent on the DUI program, they will be able to see exactly how much was spent for each life saved, each additional prosecution, etc. Communities that are able to show high rates of return—great results at low cost—will serve as models for other communities.
Many communities have found success by evaluating the results of their DUI efforts in dollar terms. Tulsa found that its YDD Program had just a one-percent rate of recidivism but wanted to know how much money was being saved because of the program. Tulsa examined the costs of recidivist cases in a similar city’s court. By comparing those findings to Tulsa’s low costs of recidivism, Tulsa was able to pinpoint an important measure of savings.
Members of the community should be kept updated about the results of each evaluation, including what the DUI program has accomplished or failed to accomplish, and the impact of those successes or failures on the overall problem of juvenile DUI. These reports should stem from both “hard” evaluations, such as the dollar amounts the community has saved, and “soft,” which identify what kind of goodwill has been created. The use of these evaluations, whether positive or negative, ensures that a community’s DUI enforcement efforts are ongoing and constantly evolving. Juvenile DUI enforcement is a cyclical process, and this final element of the Juvenile DUI Enforcement Program allows the process to begin over again and to strive for ever greater efficiency and effectiveness.