Cjus 801-discussion forum 4-reply 1 | CJUS 801 – Criminal Justice Program Evaluation | Liberty University

Reply must be at least 200-300 words. For each thread, you must support your assertions with at least 2 citations from sources such as your textbook, peer-reviewed journal articles, and the Bible. 

Textbook: Vito, G. F., & Higgins, G. E. (2015). Practical program evaluation for criminal justice. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. ISBN: 9781455777709.


Program and Theories

The California three-strikes law is an anti-crime/prevention program designed to lower and prevent crime using the criminal justice theories of deterrence and incapacitation (Ramirez & Crano, 2003).  Evaluation of a program’s impact is essential in determining the effects of a particular program on the issue or problem it is designed to mitigate (National Research Council, 2005). The evaluation’s success requires the research to evaluate the program as it relates to specific theory (Vito & Higgins, 2015).  Deterrence theory is both general and special, that being the public and individual criminals who commit a crime.  Deterrence theory is defined by the thought that “rational human beings won’t commit crimes if they know that the pain of punishment outweighs the pleasure gained from committing the crime” (Samaha, 2014, p. 26). Incapacitation is designed to reduce recidivism in crime. “Incapacitation prevents convicted criminals from committing future crimes by locking them up” (Samaha, 2014, p. 26). Ramirez and Crano (2003) report that the California three-strikes law became law in March of 1994.  The law is codified in the California State Penal Code Section 667.  The law explicitly identifies serious crimes and progressively enhances punishment for the second and third offenses of the specified crimes (the State of California, 2020). The evaluation of this program will be quantitative, “inferring evidence for a theory through measurement of variables that produce numeric outcomes” (Field, 2018, p. 750). 

Descriptive Statistics

For this exercise, the evaluation data is obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) uniform crime report (UCR).  The exercise will use secondary analysis or data collected by a reliable source (Maxfield & Babbie, 2018). The specific data is the violent crime rate for the State of California for a period of five years before the implementation of the three-strikes law and five years after the implementation of the three-strikes law. Violent crime categories of crime are very similar to the serious crime categories identified in section 667 of the California Penal Code. The rate is based on the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2021). It is essential to remember that the data’s evaluation and analysis will be based on deterrence and incapacitation theory. The theories are about preventing crime and recidivism. They are not designed to correct the social or economic problems or personal issues of people who commit crimes. 

 Christian World View

The California three-strike law is primarily based upon the theory of deterrence. Deterrence is based on a rational individual making a choice or decision to act or not act. The concepts of choice are part of the Christian faith. “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (New King James Version, 1982, 2 Peter 2:21). Punishment as a means of deterrence is also highlighted in the Bible. “But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality” (New King James Version, 1982, Colossians 3:25). “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (New King James Version, 1982, Matthew 25:41).

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