You are here:Home » Resources » Measuring Progress toward Safety and Justice:A Global Guide to the Design of Performance Indicators across the Justice Sector
Measuring Progress toward Safety and Justice:A Global Guide to the Design of Performance Indicators across the Justice Sector
Vera Institute of Justice
Source of the information:
Vera Institute of Justice
This guide is written for programme managers responsible for improving the delivery of safety, security, and access to justice in any part of the world. It should also be useful to a wide variety of government officials and to anyone interested in pursuing a disciplined course of institutional reform in the safety and justice sector.
The guide does not prescribe the use of particular indicators for measuring progress toward safety and justice. The choice of appropriate indicators must be the result of a process undertaken in each country and programme. This guide describes that process, explaining the principles that should inform the choice of indicators, and provides examples of possible indicators. If the guide and its examples inspire you to experiment in new ways to monitor your progress and to build systems of indicators that can remain in place after your reform programme is complete, the guide will have served its purpose.
There are usually several data sources from which you can calculate any particular indicator. There is rarely a correct choice: some data sources are more expensive to use; some are more readily available; and some are updated more frequently. All are flawed: the challenge is to understand the flaws when using them.
The choice of data source is entirely contextual. For example, where a government already conducts an annual survey of a representative sample of the population, adding a question about violent victimization may be relatively easy. On the other hand, where no such survey exists, creating and sustaining one may be prohibitively expensive and administrative data may be more readily available.
Some indicators can be implemented using data drawn from more than one institution. Conviction rates, for example, can be calculated by matching data held by the police and the courts. But actually matching these data may be difficult or impossible, making it more practical to rely on data solely from prosecutors.
Even when drawn from a single institution, the same administrative data source may serve well in one country and very poorly in the next. For example, hospital records of gunshot and knife wounds provide a good indication of levels of violence in some communities. If hospitals are not commonly used or keep poor records, then the level of violence might be better measured using changes in the number of homicides. However, using this indicator assumes that homicide usually rises and falls together with other violent crime, and this is not always the case.