Research, Data, & Evaluation
The Research and Evaluation Unit was established in 2018 to ensure that the work and programmatic investments of the Alameda County Probation Department are informed by the latest research, high quality data, and accurate analysis.
The Department’s main goals for research and evaluation activities include:
(1) to understand the drivers of client success in order to deliver better outcomes for adult and juvenile clients
(2) to support the families of our clients and contribute to rebuilding communities impacted by crime
(3) to apply new tools and innovative approaches to solving challenges in criminal justice reform and to lead the transformation of community corrections
(4) to promote justice, improve fairness, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities
About Probation Data
The Alameda County Probation Department prepares and releases population-level data on the clients we serve in support of our Vision 2023 Strategic Plan Goal #4 to be a high-functioning, data-driven organization and our commitment to transparency and information sharing. The data released begins with the second quarter of 2018 and is updated on a quarterly basis thereafter.
The public datasets, as well as the dashboards that illustrate them, represent the current status of our agency across the Department’s three divisions: Adult Field Services, Juvenile Field Services, and Juvenile Facilities. Data in the public datasets is individual-level and is deidentified to protect the privacy of our clients. This data is then presented as infographics in dashboards for each of the three divisions of the Department. The data presented includes clients’ supervision type or facility as well as demographic information including age, race, gender, and city of residence.
View the data dashboards below, or click one of the following links for more information:
- Access the public datasets, please visit Alameda County’s Open Data (The website performs better in Chrome or Firefox browers.)
- Read the latest Alameda County Probation Population Profile
- Public Dataset Data Dictionary
- Submit a request for Probation data not included in the public datasets
- For questions about the Department’s Public Data, please email ProbationDataRequest@acgov.org
Individuals Supervised by Alameda County Probation Department, by Division
For questions about the Department’s Public Data, please email ProbationDataRequest@acgov.org
For help with Public Records Act Requests, please visit: https://probation.acgov.org/about-us/public-records-request.page?
Research and Evaluation
The Research and Evaluation team employs a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods and tools to analyze criminal justice data, evaluate programs, and review internal process and procedures.
The team also manages external research and evaluation partners, oversees the execution of data sharing agreements, facilitates data requests, and conducts cutting-edge research to inform innovations in community correctional practices at ACPD and beyond.
Our work covers eight broad areas: adult reentry and services, youth violence prevention, community partnerships, racial and ethnic disparities, organizational change and continuous process improvement, technology and innovation in community corrections, juvenile detention practices, and juvenile programs and outcomes.
Select projects related to these areas are described below:
Redesigning the Pathways Home: Alameda County’s Pilot to Positive Reentry (Pathways Home)
The Pathways Home initiative is a first-of-its-kind partnership between CDCR and ACPD that aims to improve the reentry process for clients returning to Alameda County from prison and jail. It was partially funded by a Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
There are four components of the Pathways Home initiative:
- Pre-release case-planning video conference & service referrals
A designated DPO conducts a case-planning meeting with Post-release Community Supervision (PRCS) inmates via video conference before they are released from state prison. This meeting allows the DPO and client to review the client’s results from the COMPAS Risk & Needs Assessment and discuss service and program referrals based on the client’s reentry needs.
The case-planning video conference is intended to increase clients' likelihood of reporting to the Probation Department within the required two business days following release. It also allows the DPO to begin arranging services and supports for clients.
- Virtual reality programming
The Probation Department is partnering with Institute for the Future to develop virtual reality (VR) experiences for probation clients. VR offers unique opportunities for clients to experience situations or contexts that may positively impact their thoughts and behaviors.
- Mobile application to support goal-based supervision
The Probation Department is partnering with ideas42 to develop a mobile application that supports clients in achieving their case plan goals during community supervision. The mobile application, called Vergil, uses insights from behavioral science to help individuals under supervision develop goals and plans, identify related tasks, and engage with community-based service providers and government programs to successfully complete their probation.
By helping clients make plans, reminding clients of appointments or next steps, and allowing members of a client-identified support group to provide encouragement, Vergil helps clients turn their intentions (e.g., to get a job, find stable housing, etc.) into concrete actions that lead to goal attainment.
- Self-guided pre-release workbooks and Welcome Home: Alameda County Reentry Resource Directory
The Probation Department, in partnership with CDCR, is creating four reentry workbooks and a reentry resource directory that will be provided to clients prior to their release from jail and prison. The workbooks and resource directory are intended to help clients prepare for the reentry process by providing concrete information about services and resources available in Alameda County. The four workbooks are titled:
The department was awarded a BJA grant for $800,000 to conduct a randomized controlled trial of intervention activities. In addition to $800,000 in funding, the grant provides an evaluation partner selected by the National Institute of Justice to oversee and coordinate evaluation efforts across the three sites.
The Probation Department has contracted with Drs. Amy Lerman and Meredith Sadin from UC Berkeley’s Golden School of Public Policy and The People Lab to conduct an impact evaluation of the Pathways Home grant components.
Results will be presented to Congress to inform federal criminal justice system policy and practices.
Alameda County partnered with California Association of Counties (CSAC) to perform an inventory of programs across all public safety departments in FY 18/19. as Alameda County’s Results First project is ajoint effort between CSAC (under the umbrella of the California Counties Foundation) and the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, which aims to support counties in making data-driven policy decisions through the program’s cost benefit analysis.
The Results First cost-benefit model relies on high-quality research studies and meta-analyses is to estimate the effectiveness of programs at reducing recidivism. It assigns a monetary value to recidivism reductions using Alameda County specific county costs, recidivism, sentencing outcomes, costs of victimization, and resources used (days on probation, in jail or in prison).
Through this process, Alameda County identified approximately 60 programs addressing numerous needs across agencies including probation, jail, courts and behavioral health totaling over $40 million in investments in treatment and programming. Findings from the 2019-2020 Results First cost-benefit analysis revealed several positive returns on investment for county programs with regard to recidivism and benefits to taxpayers and avoided crime victims.
In 2020, Resource Development Associates (RDA) published an evaluation of the services funded by AB109 in Alameda County where the realigned population consists of (1) individuals under Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), (2) individuals charged and/or resolved with an 1170(h)-eligible offense, and (3) individuals who violate state parole.
The evaluation revealed that:
- Individuals who received AB 109-funded services were less likely to recidivate and recidivated at a slower rate than individuals who did not receive these services.
- Individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) or substance use disorder (SUD) who received Alameda County Behavioral Health services were less likely to recidivate and recidivated at a slower rate than individuals who did not receive those services.
- Out of all individuals with new probation grants between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2018, 27% had a diagnosis of SMI, SUD, or co-occurring diagnoses.
- Those who received AB 109-funded services were 33% less likely to recidivate with a new criminal offense within three years than individuals who did not receive these services.
- Engaging in mental health services reduced the probability of being convicted of a new offense within three years from 61% to 37% for clients with SMI.
- Engaging in SUD services reduced the probability of a new criminal conviction from 56% to 39% for individuals with a SUD diagnosis.
The full report is available at: https://www.acgov.org/probation/documents/AB109Report.pdf
Community Capacity Fund Evaluation
In 2011, the Public Safety Realignment Act (AB109) transferred the responsibility of supervising individuals with certain offense categories from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) over to counties.
In Alameda County, 50% of the AB109 resources were distributed to community-based organizations. The county also developed the Community Capacity Fund (CCF) to expand the number and diversity of community-based organizations and improve outcomes for the realigned population.
To determine the efficacy of the CCF, Alameda County is evaluating grantees' organizational capacity, including whether organizations are (1) better equipped to contract with the County, (2) have the ability to effectively deliver programs and services to the realigned population, and (3) whether this ability has improved as a result of the grant.
Impact Justice's Research & Action Center (RAC) is partnering with the County in efforts to evaluate the success of CCF, and works closely with the ACPD Research and Evaluation team.
Changing the Game Initiative
Funded by the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Youth Reinvestment Grant, Changing the Game is a collaboration between the Alameda County Probation Department (ACPD), the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL), and Youth ALIVE! with the aim of providing at-promise youth access to positive community activities, supportive peer and adult relationships, and case management services. The initiative will blend two effective deterrence strategies: the Oakland Midnight Basketball League (OMBL) and case management delivered by Youth ALIVE!
Basketball games were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, ACPD and PAL pivoted to deliver an 8-week employment exposure program to youth ages 15 to 18 in Oakland. The goal of the program is to provide participants with instruction in an employment field that has opportunities for high-paying jobs .
For more information see: https://www.oaklandmidnightbasketball.com/
Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex Youth (TGNCI) in Juvenile Hall
A forthcoming book chapter authored by Alex Garcia, Naseem Badiey, Laura Agnich Chavez, and Chief Probation Officer Wendy Still examines ACPD’s experience in developing policies and protocols for transgender youth in Juvenile Hall from 2012-2019. This research offer a practitioner’s perspective to discussions on how juvenile detention facilities can improve care of TGNCI youth.
It gleaned several insights:
- Informal practices intended to protect TGNCI youth may render them invisible from a data collection perspective, impeding the development of policies and services to address youth needs.
- Staff training is a continuous process, which requires repeated reinforcement of the objective of policies and procedures. Especially important issupport for staff whose social and cultural norms don’t align with policy changes.
- If done thoughtfully, creating a safe space in juvenile detention for TGNCI youth to express their gender identity does not pose safety risks for youth or staff, and the potential benefits outweigh challenges.
- The process benefits from clear objectives communicated by department leadership. It also necessitates holding staff accountable to enact required changes. Staff accountability is particularly important, as staff behavior must align with the written policies and expectations communicated by leadership.
- The case of Alameda County Juvenile Hall can help dispel assumptions that may negatively impact TGNCI youth in custody, identify potential challenges, and offer strategies for approaching similar processes of organizational change.
The Quality Assurance (QA) Unit identifies process improvements for data quality assurance, communicating with executive and other staff stakeholders and providing training on all things related to the Tyler case management system (both juvenile and adult). The QA unit is responsible for updating the partner portal (for collaborative partnerships with both individual and contracted organizations). The QA Unit also publishes a Tyler Bulletin to keep the Department informed of concerns and updates to functionality in the case management system.
The QA consists of a Tyler Supervision Case Management System Administrator and a Business Analyst.
|Laura E. (Agnich) Chavez serves as Chief of Research and Evaluation of the Alameda County Probation Department and works with her team to improve processes and outcomes for justice-involved youth and adults. She received her PhD from Virginia Tech and was formerly an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University. Prior to joining the Probation Department, her research focused on youth violence and victimization including bullying, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of School Violence, Violence against Women, Violence and Gender, Children and Youth Services Review, the American Journal of Criminal Justice, and Criminal Justice Review. In her free time she enjoys walking her dog (a yellow labrador) and playing board games.|
|H. Naseem Badiey is a political sociologist with a passion for criminal justice reform. Prior to joining the Research and Evaluation Unit at ACPD, Naseem was Assistant Professor of International Development and Humanitarian Action at CSU Monterey Bay where her research focused on post-conflict reconstruction, land tenure reform, and rebel movements in sub-Saharan Africa. During her years as an academic, she published journal articles, book chapters, and a monograph on South Sudan’s post-conflict state-building process. More recently, her research and publications have focused on the transition from incarceration back to the community, racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, and juvenile justice reforms. She is also a playwright and filmmaker. Her degrees include a B.A. from UC Berkeley, B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute, and MPhil + DPhil (PhD) from Oxford University|
|Alexandria Garcia is a Probation Specialist in the Research and Evaluation Unit at the Alameda County Probation Department. Alex holds a BA from the University of California, Davis and an MPA from California State University East Bay. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in Education and Organizational Leadership at the University of the Pacific where her research focuses on the impacts of COVID-19 on probation and organizational change. In her personal time, Alex researches Indigenous slavery and works to create awareness of the historical and contemporary struggles of the Genízaro peoples of New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Alex has presented her research at various conferences on topics such as the importance of formerly incarcerated student support programs on college campuses and genealogical issues in tracing Genízaro ancestry.|
|Audrey Clubb is a researcher and analyst specializing in criminal justice reform and dedicated to data-driven, evidence-based change. Audrey holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Kennesaw State University well as a MS and PhD in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Georgia State University. Her research publications utilize advanced statistical techniques to analyze a variety of topics including fear of crime, geospatial crime forecasting, self-guardianship, white-collar crime, and social disorganization. Following her early work in both engineering and academia, Audrey’s more recent work has involved justice program evaluation and improvement in the Bay Area, including the successful launch of the Alameda County Pretrial Pilot Program, which offers a cash bail alternative for eligible arrestees. When not engaging in program evaluation and data analysis with the Alameda County Probation Department, Audrey enjoys exploring museums, science centers, aquariums, and parks with her family.|
|Robert Walton is a Probation Specialist with the Research and Evaluation Unit. His expertise lies in data analysis and reporting using a variety of tools including PowerBi, MySQL, and Stata. Robert holds a BA in Political Science, focused on Public Administration from California State University East Bay. He has served the Alameda County Probation Department in various non-sworn capacities since 2012 in both the Juvenile and Adult Divisions. He received the Administrative Employee of the Year Award for 2020 for his work on data projects and quality assurance and for overall contributing to the Department’s functioning as a data-driven organization. In his free time, he enjoys DIY projects, cooking, and outdoor activities with his family.|
|Sherron Lee is a Division Director and serves as the Tyler Supervision Case Management System Administrator. She works with the Research and Evaluation team to assure that information and data in Tyler are accurate. By evaluating the systems that we use within the agency, she aims to assist the Department in improving outcome for clients. Over her many years with the Probation Department, Sherron has worked in all four divisions of the department and been a trainer in various subjects. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from California Polytechnic State University and holds a Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University. Prior to her career in probation, she wanted to be an attorney, but found that she could have more impact in the lives of clients by working as a probation officer. She is a lifelong supporter of social justice and gives back to the community by volunteering with her church. She is a native of Oakland, California.|
|Juvenile Detention in Alameda County||Wendy Still||2019||Alameda County Probation Department|
|Community-based Alternatives to Detention: Implementation Evidence on Evening Reporting Centers||Sonia Jain, Alison K. Cohen, Neola Crosby, Jessica Gingold, & Stacey Wooden||2019||Journal of Applied Juvenile Justice Services, National Partnership for Juvenile Services|
|Individualizing Responses to Motivate Behavior Change in Youth: A Four-Pronged Approach||Wendy L. Schiller, Jessica Pearce, & Lindsey R. Jones||2019||National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges|
|Reducing Out of Home Placement in Alameda County 2018||Angela Irvine & Danielle Soto||2018||Impact Justice|
|Improving Outcomes for Justice-Involved Youth Through Evidence-Based Decision-Making and Diversion||Amber Farn||2018||Center for Juvenile Justice Reform|
|Don't Stop Now: California Leads the Nation in Using Public Higher Education to Address Mass Incarceration||Debbie Mukamal and Rebecca Silbert||2018||Corrections to College California|
|Identifying, Engaging, and Empowering Families: A Charge for Juvenile Justice Agencies||Ryan Shanahan & Margaret DiZerega||2016||Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Vera Institute of Justice|
|High Pain, No Gain: How Juvenile Administrative Fees Harm Low-Income Families in Alameda County, California||Alexander Kaplan et al||2016||Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic|