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To achieve the original goals of the evaluation to assess effectiveness and costs, the research team's first objective was to conduct a process evaluation of the initiative as a whole and the implementation of the SPEP™ rating system in particular. The researchers' second objective was to locally validate the SPEP™ rating system at the demonstration sites, using local youth and service-level data. However, limitations in available risk data, the limited number of services rated, and an extended timeline for implementing the SPEP™ precluded such a validation. Instead, the researchers used the data from one site to illustrate the requirements and process that would be involved in locally validating the SPEP™. Consequently, the evaluation and its products focused on research objectives that included the following:
- the implementation of the SPEP™ rating system at the demonstration sites, including implementation requirements, successes, and challenges, and implications for sustainability and replication;
- the process to locally validate the relationship between SPEP™ ratings and reduced recidivism; and
- the implementation of JJRRI and its components at the demonstration sites, including progress made, challenges encountered, and the sustainability of reforms.