Drug Policies In America
Drug Policies In America, After a brief introduction, outline the policy using the seven-step policy analysis method. Afterwards, in your discussion, decide if the policy is working and your suggestions for any improvements.
A Seven-Stage Checklist for Program/Policy Planning and Analysis
Stage 1. Analyzing the Problem
A. Document the need for change: Collect and analyze data to define what the problem is, where it is, how big it is, and who is affected by it. What evidence of the problem exists?
B. Describe the history of the problem: How long has the problem existed? How has it changed over time?
C. Examine potential causes of the problem: What causes the problem? What theories do we have? The intervention to be chosen must target one or more specific causes supported by research.
D. Examine previous interventions that have tried to change this problem. Identify the most promising interventions and choose a preferred intervention approach.
E. Identify relevant stakeholders: Do different groups of people have different definitions of the problem? Who is affected by the problem?
F. Conduct a systems analysis: Conduct research on the justice system where the problem exists, and determine how the system may create, contribute to, or maintain the problem.
G. Identify barriers to change and supports for change: Who is likely to support a certain course of action? Who is likely to resist it?
Stage 2. Setting Goals and Objectives
A. Write goal statements specifying the general outcome to be obtained. Consider the goals of criminal sanctions and normative values driving desired outcomes.
B. Write specific outcome objectives for each goal: These should include a time frame for measuring impact, a target population, a key result intended, and a specific criterion or measure of impact.
C. Seek participation from different individuals and agencies in goal setting. Consider top-down versus bottom-up approaches.
D. Specify an impact model: This is a description of how the intervention will act upon a specific cause so as to bring about a change in the problem.
E. Identify compatible and incompatible goals in the larger system: Where do values of different stakeholders overlap or conflict?
F. Identify needs and opportunities for interagency collaboration: Whose cooperation and participation is needed to achieve the goals of this program or policy?
Stage 3. Designing the Program or Policy
A. Choose an intervention approach: Integrate the information collected at previous stages to decide what the substance of an intervention will be. Decide whether a program or policy approach is appropriate.
B. Program design requires four major activities:
(1) Define the target population: Who is to be served, or changed?
(2) Define client selection and intake procedures: How are clients selected and recruited for the intervention?
(3) Define program components: The precise nature, amount, and sequence of services provided must be specified. Who does what to whom, in what order, and how much?
(4) Write job descriptions of staff, and define the skills and training required.
C. Policy design requires four major activities:
(1) Define the target population of the policy: Which persons or groups are included, and which are not?
(2) Identify the responsible authority: Who is required to carry out the policy, and what will their responsibilities be?
(3) Define the provisions of the policy: A policy should identify the goods, services, opportunities, or interventions that will be delivered, and the conditions that must be met in order for the provisions to be carried out.
(4) Delineate the procedures that must be followed: Individuals responsible for implementing a specific set of rules must clearly understand the specific steps and actions to be taken to ensure that the policy is carried out consistently.
Stage 4. Action Planning
A. Identify resources needed and make cost projections: How much funding is needed to implement a specific intervention? Identify the kinds of resources needed, estimate costs and make projections, and develop a resource plan.
B. Plan to acquire or reallocate resources: How will funding be acquired? Identify resource providers, and be prepared for making adjustments to the resource plan.
C. Specify dates by which implementation tasks will be accomplished, and assign responsibilities to staff members for carrying out tasks: A Gantt Chart is particularly useful for this purpose.
D. Develop mechanisms of self-regulation: Create mechanisms to monitor staff performance and enhance communication, including procedures for orienting participants, coordinating activities, and managing resistance and conflict.
E. Specify a plan to build and maintain support: Anticipate sources of resistance and develop
Stage 5. Program/Policy Implementation and Monitoring
A. Design a monitoring system to assess to what degree the program or policy design is being carried out as planned. Is the intended target population being reached? Are program/policy activities or provisions actually being carried out as planned? Are appropriate staff or responsible authorities selected and trained, and are they carrying out their assigned duties?
B. Design monitoring instruments to collect data (e.g., observations, surveys, interviews): Collect data to find out what is actually being delivered to clients or targets. The purpose is to identify gaps between the program/policy on paper (design) and the program/policy in action.
C. Designate responsibility for data collection, storage, and analysis: Ensure that there is no ambiguity about what information is to be collected, who is responsible for collecting it, or how it is to be collected, stored, and analyzed.
D. Develop information system capacities: Information systems may consist of written forms and records that are filed, or fully computerized data entry and storage systems.
E. Develop mechanisms to provide feedback to staff, clients, and stakeholders: Depending on the results of monitoring analyses, it may be necessary to make adjustments either to what is being done (the program or policy in action) or to the intended design (the program or policy on paper).
Stage 6. Evaluating Outcomes
A. Decide which type of evaluation is appropriate, and why: Do major stakeholders (including those funding the evaluation) want to know whether the program or policy is achieving its objectives (impact), how outcomes change over time (continuous outcomes), or whether it is worth the investment of resources devoted to its implementation (efficiency)?
B. Determine whether two prerequisites for evaluation have been met: (1) Are objectives clearly defined and measurable? (2) Has the intervention been sufficiently well designed and well implemented?
C. Develop outcome measures based on objectives: Good outcome measures should be valid and reliable.
D. Identify potential confounding factors (factors other than the intervention that may have biased observed outcomes): Common confounding factors include biased selection, biased attrition, and history.
E. Determine which technique for minimizing confounding effects can be used: random assignment or nonequivalent comparison groups: Each involves creating some kind of comparison or control group.
F. Specify the appropriate research design to be used: Examples include: the simple pretest-posttest design; the pretest-posttest design with control group; the pretest-posttest design with multiple pretests; the longitudinal design with treatment and control groups; and the cohort design.
G. Identify users and uses of evaluation results: Who is the intended audience, and how can results be effectively and efficiently communicated? How will the results be used?
H. Reassess the entire program or policy plan: Review the entire planning process from start to finish, looking for any inconsistencies, contradictions, or inadequacies.
Stage 7. Reassessment and Review
A. Initiate the program or policy design and the action plan developed at Stages 3 and 4: Make sure that specific individuals are responsible for coordinating all program or policy activities.
B. Begin monitoring program/policy implementation according to plans developed at Stage 5.
C. Make adjustments to program or policy design as monitoring detects gaps.
D. Determine whether the program or policy is ready to be evaluated.
E. Implement the research design developed at Stage 6. Collect and analyze evaluation data.
F. Provide feedback to stakeholders.
G. Reassess the entire program/policy plan and make necessary modifications to increase fit with the program or policy’s environment.
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