Program evaluation is essential to ensuring that prison systems adopt effective programs and policies. The "gold standard" method for evaluating outcomes of programs and policies is the randomized controlled trial (RCT), a type of scientific experiment featuring random assignment of individuals to either a treatment or control group in order to precisely measure the treatment’s impact. While conducting RCT evaluations can be met with skepticism and challenges, where feasible RCTs deliver superior, more reliable evaluations of the impact of policies and programs.
Randomized Controlled Trials in Correctional Settings
National Institute of Justice