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Criminal Justice Policy Evaluation


Admission requirements

Students who want to attend this course, should have been admitted to the Masters Crime and Criminal Justice (Criminaliteit en Rechtshandhaving).


Criminal justice policy evaluation is concerned with the analysis, interpretation and communication of the way crime-reduction programs are set up and why they work out the way they do. As such, this course trains students in becoming able to point out how such programs could be improved, or even, if they should be continued. For this task, the course is split up into critical discussions of various types of evaluation research, depending on the stage of the process. First, ex ante evaluations are done prior to the actual implementation of the intervention program, and are concerned with the program’s theoretical basis. Why would this program work, and are unintended side-effects to be expected from it? A second type of evaluation research concerns process evaluation, aimed at the actual implementation. It involves the documentation of the intervention’s key aspects in order to evaluate if they are implemented as planned (e.g. uniform treatment of subjects in the experimental group). The final stage of evaluation is oriented toward the program’s impact. Did it work out the way as planned? How large is the policy effect, and as such, does it offer value for money? (cost-benefit analysis) And are there any unintended side-effects (e.g. crime displacement, offender stigmatization)? In order to underline the difficulties in determining causality in impact evaluation, we will pay close attention to the methodological standards developed by the Campbell Collaboration. Also, we will discuss meta-analysis and systematic reviews as instruments to determine the evidence-base of criminal justice policies.
Students will familiarize themselves with the three stages of evaluation research by means of literature study, and especially, by writing a research proposal for evaluation of a specified criminal justice policy program, and elaborate on their choices during a presentation.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
Criminal Justice Policy Evaluation aims at understanding the scientific challenges for conducting sound criminological evaluation research, especially with respect to assessing effectiveness of crime-reduction initiatives. As such, it addresses the ultimate goal in justice policy strategies and is therefore an indispensible part of a policy-oriented criminological Masters.

Achievement levels

Students gain knowledge of: – prerequisites for ex ante and process evaluation – prerequisites for research design to allow for ex-post evaluation of an intervention’s program impact – analytical ways to assess program impact using suitable evaluation methods

Students are able to write a research proposal for evaluation research pertaining to a criminal justice problem, and to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the different research options they choose.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

Other methods of instruction
1x presentation rounds of research proposals

Assessment method Examination form(s)- Paper on research proposal for evaluation of a specified criminal justice program (70%)

  • Presentation of the proposal (30%)

Submission procedures
All assignments must be admitted via SafeAssign (Blackboard)

Areas to be tested within the exam


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list Obligatory course materials Literature: C.H. Weiss – Evaluation (2nd edition).

Course information guide:
A series of articles and chapters that will be distributed either through Blackboard or in a reader

Recommended course materials


Contact information


  • Institute: Criminal Law and Criminology

  • Department: Criminology

  • Opening hours: 09.00 to 12.30

  • Telephone secretariat: 071 – 527 74 62

  • E-mail:



Belangstellenden die deze cursus in het kader van contractonderwijs willen volgen (met tentamen), kunnen meer informatie vinden over kosten, inschrijving, voorwaarden, etc. op de website van Juridisch PAO