Design, Sites, and Data Sources
The process study design included observations of arraignment court proceedings; interviews with various system actors (judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, SR participants, and provider staff members); interviews and focus groups with other important stakeholders (program managers, supervising judges, public defense organization leaders, and the district attorney’s office); and quantitative analysis of merged data from court proceedings, prearraignment defendant interviews, arrest and conviction records, and provider records.
To assess the effects of the SR program, the evaluation used a regression discontinuity design. The design compared the outcomes of defendants just above and just below an SR eligibility cutoff that was based on their scores on a risk assessment. Because these two groups of defendants were comparable at the outset but differed in their potential access to the SR program, any differences in their outcomes could be attributed to the SR program with a high degree of confidence.
Both the process and impact studies assessed the SR program citywide, as well as by individual New York City borough.