Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Shannon Comprehensive Safety Initiative (SCSI)

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): MA

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2009/$50,000

About the Program:

Suffolk University (SU) was awarded funding to support the City of Boston as a local action research partner. In this capacity, SU collaborated with the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to identify ways to improve the measurement and reporting of programmatic activities funded by Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr., Comprehensive Safety Initiative (SCSI), a state-funded program that requires funded sites to implement the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s comprehensive gang model in an effort to reduce gang and youth violence. SU focused their efforts on the largest funded partner agency within the City of Boston’s SCSI program. The partner agency is a critical program within the City of Boston providing case management, educational programming, and transitional employment services to youth that are gang-involved, victims or perpetrators of violence, and youth involved in the criminal justice system. The project included meeting with City of Boston officials and leadership of the partner agency and assessing how activities were being reported to EOPSS and other agencies from which they receive funding. After the assessment period, SU outlined action steps that would allow them to do a process and outcome evaluation which included reviewing current data collection efforts, seeking Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to interview the partner agency clients, and interviewing partner agency personnel in charge of reporting grant activity and client outcomes. Over the course of the grant period, SU interviewed 41 youth clients, interviewed the partner agency case managers, reviewed their notes, and provided the partner agency with a Database Recommendation Report. The interviews of the youth were helpful to identify areas where client services were strongest, and areas that needed improvement. Interviews of case managers revealed that some staff did not understand the purpose of the databases and data collection process/efforts, and review of the case notes found that some were done electronically and monitored while others were handwritten and not saved into any type of database.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

Using the feedback and recommendations for improvement provided by SU, the partner agency was able to make several changes within their program in short order. The implementation of a Database Recommendation Report allowed the partner agency to centralize their record keeping database with fields that can better document their work effort. Case managers (and management) now have quick and easy access to track outputs and client outcomes, and management can use the data in a way to make decisions about current programming and strategic planning and visioning. Additionally, the database allows the partner agency to improve the documentation of their progress and meeting project goals, thus strengthening its reports to funding agencies.

The partner agency is known as one of the model agencies in the city and in the state working with this extremely difficult population. However, having struggled to demonstrate the quality and impact of their work limited their ability to attract additional resources to help them increase their capacity to serve these youth. Using a strategic plan that incorporates data such as outputs and client outcomes already tracked by the agency, they have improved the efficiency of staff efforts and identified gaps in services that can now be addressed by seeking additional funding. This will assist the partner agency’s goal in increasing their capacity to provide critical services to more youth and ultimately reducing the likelihood of their involvement in violence and contact with the criminal justice system.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Erika Gebo
Program Coordinator
Email: egebo@suffolk.edu
Phone: 617-557-1597

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