Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gaming Performance

I’m reading a book right now re-examining the whole “performance movement” perspective, especially the areas of unintended consequences and other evidence that the full implications of the “greater accountability through measurement” approach that indicate our zeal for performance may, as usual, have counter-productive tendencies. It’s already raised a point that I’ve been concerned with as we use “recidivism” more and more as our measure of corr sent success or failure. One of the very simplest ways to get your recidivism rates down if you are in corrections sentencing is to sanction and incarcerate more low risk offenders who have previously been getting probation or community sentencing. They, by definition, have lower recidivism rates, although those rates may rise when those offenders get to go to Crime College now, and would bring down the overall stats. IOW, as we adopt the “evidence-based, data-driven” management perspective in the face of greater need to marshal our resources in the face of rising prison space problems, we may be moving toward exacerbating that very problem. I’m wondering if any of you can see other instances where focusing more on some of our corr sent measures that we throw about, including but not limited to recidivism, might have these similar effects. Might be good to know before we get too far down a road.

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