Table of Contents
- Overview of the Agency
- Evidence of Agency Effectiveness
- Agency-Current Evaluation Process
- Client Information and Its Use
- Critique of Current Client Information System
- Program/ Treatment Goals
- Program’s Strengths and Limitations
- Literature Review
- Results and Discussion
- Related Free Research Essays
Treatment programs for criminal offenders who are imprisoned and released are in high demand across Florida and beyond. Both individuals and their families see the actual need to conduct rehabilitation or treatment programs to assist victims of criminal acts in recovering and leading a normal life after the life in prison. These services are not only essential for those who are released from prison, but also for the ones who are still serving their terms in prison. Moreover, recovering from drugs and substance abuse is a challenge for many people in Florida. There is, therefore, the need to assist victims recover from mental problems and become a part of the society after their experiences from prisons and other correctional facilities.
In most instances, ex-prisoners find it quite difficult to find a job and decent housing after being released from prisons. More so, these people are not in most cases welcomed in the society, as they mostly end up engaging in new crimes. Therefore, having rehabilitation services for these people is an essential element for their personal growth. Failure to provide correctional services might contribute to more problems, as ex-prisoners will be tempted to commit crimes again, thus, contributing to their detention. Unlimited Path, Inc. is established on the need to provide correctional services to ex-prisoners through advising them or engaging them in productive activities that will help them to stop committing crimes again.
This report presents a proposal, involving the correctional program evaluation. It describes the company based on its goals, objectives, vision, and mission. The other aspects that have been presented in this proposal include: the analysis of the existing evidence relating to the agency’s effectiveness, as well as the current evaluation process provided by the agency. Additionally, a critique of the current client’s information system is presented based on the problems that are associated with programs. Consequently, a review of the existing literature and methodology for carrying out the study is presented below. Finally, a discussion of the results is provided.
Overview of the Agency
Unlimited Path Inc. was established in 1994 as a correctional agency with the aim to provide services to the incarcerated and recently released ex-prisoners, helping them to cope with substance and drug abuse, as well as other mental problems associated with detention (Unlimited Path, Inc., n.d.). The agency is located in State of Florida, including such sites as Jefferson, Demilly, Walton, Avon Park, Sumter, Hillsborough, Marion, Lowell, Gulf, Okaloosa, Polk, Century, Lake and Baker Correctional Institutions, as well as Northwest Florida Reception Center (Unlimited Path, Inc., n.d., para. 1). There has been an increased necessity for non-religious based treatment facilities among the incarcerated population.
With the need to facilitate service delivery in this field, the agency has made a significant contribution to the change of Century CI program to an alternative treatment program. Unlimited Path, Inc. also provides services in the residential therapeutic community, and intensive outpatient (Unlimited Path, Inc., n.d., para. 1). The agency’s services are based on the need to ensure that the current and ex-prisoners have a rehabilitation service that ensures that they fully recover from their current situation. The primary stakeholders are the management team in the organization. The company’s executive director is responsible for developing the correctional programs within the agency that help in rehabilitating the target group. Other than the development of correctional programs, the management is also responsible for preparation and implementation of the budgets used in running the programs. In the program evaluation, the executive director will be a key source of information through interviews and questionnaires. The executive management in the company is considered as the key decision-making organ. Therefore, they will be responsible for the implementation of proposed courses of actions in the organization. The other stakeholders are clients, the company’s employees, and partnering firms.
Evidence of Agency Effectiveness
Unlimited Path Inc. programs are effective in addressing various clients’ needs. The company undertakes certain activities and measures to ensure that it achieve its goals. The evidence of the agency’s effectiveness in the company is established from the reviews provided by clients and employees. For instance, Unlimited Path Inc. has individuals who are committed to helping in the integration of incarcerated clients with communities. The management has shown its commitment to developing programs that are effective in assisting individuals in recovering from negative impacts of substance abuse. A bigger number of clients have benefited from the programs, hence it is effective in addressing the issues.
Additionally, the agency has client programming facilities with its system, which is effective in helping clients to cope with the challenges. The programs are supported by passionate and committed employees who assist clients. This has contributed towards enhancing the overall effectiveness of the agency. Moreover, the services offered by the agency are designed to meet specific clients’ needs. Since the program’s inception, the company has been able to realize some of its goals, an evidence that it is effective in addressing its goals and clients’ needs.
Agency-Current Evaluation Process
The current evaluation process at Unlimited Path, Inc. involves collection of various sets of data from clients to establish their level of satisfaction with the services that agency provides. The evaluation involves collection of information, ranging from personal to non-personal from the current and past clients with an aim of testing the effectiveness of organization in meeting expectation of their clients. Currently, the staff collects all of the relevant data from clients, such as their level of satisfaction with the received services. Employees ensure that the collected information is standard and can be applied in other circumstances within the organization. First, the assigned agency staff collects clients’ background characteristics as a part of the evaluation process. This involves information related to clients’ past behaviors. It also involves personal information of clients for the purposes of record keeping. Past client behaviors are essential for the agency in evaluating client’s progress and changes based on the rehabilitation process.
Moreover, the evaluation process at Unlimited Path, Inc. involves the collection of client’s background characteristics. It entails past problems or actions that the client was engaged in and that contributed to their current situation. For instance, if a client was detained for rape, the agency collects information relating the drug and substance abuse for the client to establish the symptoms that might have contributed to the detention. Therefore, as the client undergoes rehabilitation, a comparison between its past problems and the current symptoms are synthesized.
The next element of agency’s evaluation process is the assessment of types and quantities of services offered to the clients. The effectiveness of services offered by the organization determines the company’s efficiency in addressing client’s needs. Consequently, the process entails an assessment of the client’s satisfaction based on the quality of services. When there are high satisfaction levels among clients, then the agency is effective in its operations. However, low customer satisfaction implies that the agency is poor in addressing the clients’ needs. Finally, the evaluation of services in the agency involves an assessment of the client’s progress and outcome data on the problem and reduction levels, as reported among the selected clients. It is expected that the clients will report significant progress in changing their problems. According to the assessment process, clients have realized a significant reduction in their conditions, an indication of progress in handling the clients’ needs.
Client Information and Its Use
The client’s information collection is a frequent exercise and it depends on the need of such information by the relevant users, such as management and other stakeholders. According to the agency’s policy, the information is collected each time a new client is admitted in the organization for rehabilitation. This is the first stage of information collection. The collected data assists the management and correctional staff to understand the situation and needs of specific clients. As the client progresses with programs, data is collected on the performance to assess effectiveness of the programs in addressing the needs. In most instances, the data is collected in the form of questionnaires and interviews from clients or close family members by the agency’s officers. The collected data is presented to the management for processing. Based on the information, certain changes are made to the programs to suit specific clients’ needs.
Critique of Current Client Information System
Although the current client information system is effective in addressing clients’ requirements from the agency, as well as stakeholders’ requirements, it has certain problems that limit its effectiveness. First, the current information system is not updated, which affects the evaluation process. The outdated data stored in the system implies that the decision-making process in the evaluation exercise may not be accurate, as it is based on historical data. Secondly, the information system has manual operations, which negatively impact the evaluation process. Manual systems are not only time-consuming, but also costly to the agency. As a result, the management might incur high costs to maintain the systems. However, the system is comprehensive, as it encompasses various elements, such as client background information, details, and past behavior and symptoms among others. With the high level of comprehensiveness, the collected data is highly reliable and valid. Therefore, the only improvement that could be done to the existing system is to upgrade to an online system, where all the data is collected and stored in online information systems within the agency.
Program/ Treatment Goals
The program’s goals are met through addressing the clients’ specific needs. From the evaluation process, when the clients are satisfied, then the programs are said to have been met. There is a frequent evaluation process for the rehabilitation programs managed by the agency. This is to ensure that the program achieves its goals. The previous evaluation processes were taken on the manual basis using interviews and questionnaires among the selected clients involved in the evaluation process. While some aspects of the evaluation process are internally generated, a bigger proportion is generated from external sources. The information used in the evaluation process is majorly obtained from clients who are classified as external shareholders. Finally, the evaluations carried out by management from its clients involved several reviews for quality assurance and licensing by other regulatory agencies in the industry.
Program’s Strengths and Limitations
The first strength of the programs is the experience that organization’s employees and clients have gained from the processes. Over the past, many clients have passed through the programs. A greater proportion of clients has reported positive improvements, an indication of the program’s strengths in meeting the specified goals. Secondly, the program employs effective techniques and intervention types in serving the clients. The unique techniques applied in the program is a strength that the organization boasts of in its operations. However, despite the registered strengths, there are certain weaknesses that limit the effectiveness of programs in the agency. First, the program lacks motivation systems for clients who have undergone the process. In addition, there is a high burn-out rate among clients. This shows that the program lacks motivation system to ensure that clients are retained in the programs (Heseltine, Day, & Sarre, 2011).
Existing literature has confirmed the effectiveness of treatment programs for criminals who have been in prison for criminal activities. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology (2016), offenders need to undergo rehabilitation process that enables them to fit in the society. In most instances, when they are released from prisons, the community always develops negative perceptions towards these people. Therefore, by creating programs to assist them to cope with others in the society, the instances of these individuals engaging in criminal activities decline. Some of the programs include correctional practices that make individuals active (Heseltine et al., 2011). These services aim at ensuring criminals are productive and do not engage in criminal activities in future.
Bahr, Masters and Taylor (2012) in a study on the treatment programs for substance abuse victims assert that those who have engaged in the vice before often find it difficult to drop the act. Therefore, there is a need to engage these individuals in rehabilitation programs that make them more active. While these individuals normally find it hard to change their behaviors, if left on their own, correctional exercises play a significant role in their transformation. According to Marshall, Laws, and Barbaree (1990), sexual offenders pose a greater threat to the community when left unattended till after their release. Most of them always find themselves engaging in the acts even after their release from prison. Therefore, correctional training is necessary to offer productive rehabilitation to such individuals to help them not be engaged in any kinds of criminal activities (Olver, Lewis, & Wong, 2013).
The study intends to employ a systematic sampling strategy in which a systematic approach is expected to be adopted when selecting participants. A sample of ex-prisoners is selected, based on the time of release from prison. The selected sample comprises of individuals who have been released from prison over the past years. They have also defined the intensity of criminal activities that they committed. It comprises of drug addicts, rapists, and thugs who have been in prison and released recently. The sample selection procedures consist of a standardized procedure, where certain aspects of the study are taken into consideration. These measures are highly reliable and valid for the study. When collecting data from the study sample, there are specific procedures that must be followed to improve the reliability of results. For instance, there must be a permission obtained from criminal department of state to use the selected sample for the study. Family members of the selected sample must also provide permissions for the empirical study. Therefore, based on this approach, a qualitative design is adopted.
Results and Discussion
The collected data and information will be analyzed using various statistical techniques, both descriptive, and inferential statistics. From the study, there have been increased improvements in the correctional services offered for the selected sample. This is indicated by the reducing number of victims in various criminal activities. There have been recorded great improvements among the rehabilitated sample. There has been an increased positive contribution made by the rehabilitators in various aspects in the society. This shows an achievement of program goals, aimed at assisting the victims to recover from criminal activities. Rehabilitation services offered by Unlimited Path, Inc. are effective in addressing clients’ needs (Bahr et al., 2012). This is shown by improvements reported among clients served by the agency. Based on the evaluation programs initiated within the organization, involving both internal and external stakeholders, the program is achieving its goals, an indication of better performance. Therefore, it confirms Unlimited Path, Inc. commitment to addressing the issues in community through its divisions in Florida and beyond.