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Best Practices Avoiding Failures of Implementation: Lessons from Process Evaluations.

Cissner, Amanda B.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) New York: Cetner for Court Innovation.

This paper is part of a multi-faceted inquiry into failed criminal justice experiments undertaken by the Center
for Court Innovation and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. This paper primarily
examines failures of implementation or, in other words, failures arising not from a fundamentally flawed theory
of change, but from missteps in planning and execution. The analysis is largely based on findings and lessons
from evaluations conducted by research staff at the Center for Court Innovation. Most of the programs
evaluated are experiments in “problem-solving justice”—court-based efforts to address the underlying problems
of defendants, victims, and communities. The center was involved in the planning of many (though not
all) of the projects discussed in this report. Thus, this study is implicitly an exercise in self-reflection and an
effort to be forthright about mistakes the center has made along the path to success. This paper seeks to
identify common sources of failure across 13 projects and to develop a basic list of considerations that may
help practitioners avoid some of the pitfalls the center experienced. (excerpt)


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