Identifying Performance Measures

Performance measures are specific and quantifiable measures that indicate whether and to what extent the arrest alert system is accomplishing its pre- established goals. In general, performance measures should be identified early in the planning process. They should be easy to document and always take the form of numbers, percentages, proportions, or answers to simple yes/no questions regarding whether or not an activity is taking place.

Below are a few examples of performance indicators to consider for monitoring or evaluating an arrest alert system.

1. Criteria for Priority Targets:
a. General criteria have been established for the entire prosecutorial jurisdiction, or varying neighborhoods within it, for the kinds of individuals, charges, and locations that should be classified as priorities (yes/no)
b. Neighborhood or area-specific criteria have been created for identifying priority locations (e.g., a housing complex, range of blocks, or a zip code) (yes/no)
c. Number of neighborhoods or areas in which priority individuals reside. (It is assumed that each neighborhood will have distinct crime problems that influence the kinds of individuals classified as priorities.) (number)

2. Identifying Specific Individuals, Charges, and Locations as Priorities:
a. Number of priorities identified by law enforcement in the past year (number)
b. Number of priorities identified by prosecutors in the past year (number)
c. Number of priorities identified by community stakeholders or others in the past year (number) )

3. Priority Arrest Volume:
a. Number of priority individuals, charges, and locations overall for the jurisdiction and by specific neighborhood or area of interest (numbers)
b. Number of new priority individuals, charges, and locations identified and entered into the system in the past year for the jurisdiction and by specific neighborhood or area of interest (numbers)

4. Engaging with Partners:
a. Number of meetings prosecutors have held in past year with local law enforcement regarding the arrest alert system and priority arrests (number) and number of police precincts or commands with whom meetings have been held (number)
b.Number of meetings with community leaders prosecutors involved with implementing the arrest alert system have attended (number)
Use by Prosecutors:
a. Written policy or protocol developed for arrest alert system (yes/no)
b. Training held on arrest alert system for line prosecutors (yes/no)
c. Number of prosecutors trained in using the arrest alert system (number)
d. Number of prosecutors not yet trained in using the arrest alert system (number)
e. Number of supervisory reviews of line prosecutors that include the knowledge and use of arrest alert system (number)
In addition to these examples, a prosecutor’s office may also want to gain a precise understanding of how prosecutors actually use the arrest alert system.

For example, how frequently do prosecutors receive arrest alert notifications? At what stage of the criminal process is the intelligence associated with arrest alert notifications most useful— i.e., pre-arraignment, investigation stage, or post-disposition? And how often do prosecutors adjust their decisions (e.g., pretrial release or detention requests, whether to debrief a defendant, plea offers, or sentencing recommendations) in response to arrest alerts?

This kind of information may be difficult to track through database or record-keeping methods. If so, prosecutor’s offices might consider administering occasional surveys to line prosecutors. These surveys can be web-based making them easily accessible and may include measuring the frequency of usage and any barriers that prosecutors have encountered in accessing information, interpreting it, and taking concrete actions in response.

Performance measures are essential in constructing a logic model and conducting an evaluation as they become the outputs and outcomes that are key components to any evaluation.