By: LFA Group. Published by: San Francisco Office of the Public Defender. Published in: March 2009
The LFA Group conducted an evaluation for the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender on the Clean Slate Program. LFA Group finds that the Clean Slate program reduced barriers to employment, education, public benefits, and housing.
“A mixed-methods evaluation design enabled both quantitative and qualitative assessment of Clean Slate’s client needs, services, and impact. The evaluation was informed by reviews of literature and Clean Slate program materials, interviews with key stakeholders, program observation, and analysis of randomly selected case files, including RAP sheets, and other program data. The table below includes the complete list of data collection methods used for the process and outcomes aspects of the evaluation.” (p. 2)
“The first component of the Clean Slate evaluation examined program processes – how efficiently the program delivers services. Process evaluations seek to understand how well programs function in terms of their procedures and policies, use of staff time, provision of efficient and high quality services, and organization with regard to administrative and management needs. The Public Defender’s Office was interested in a process evaluation that would yield concrete recommendations for improving Clean Slate policies and practices, streamlining case processing, and increasing their capacity to serve more potential clients. A second component of the evaluation looked at program outcomes – the impacts that Clean Slate services have on clients’ lives. Outcomes evaluations seek to understand whether services have had the intended effect or consequence. Having a criminal record poses legal and social barriers to achieving personal goals and establishing a healthy, independent lifestyle. Thus, desired outcomes for Clean Slate clients include reduced barriers to employment, education, public benefits and housing, helping them to achieve increased self-sufficiency” (p. 8). “As of the end of 2007, the Clean Slate program had an open caseload of 4,453 people, yet even this impressive number being served is only a fraction of the program’s potential clientele – all those living in San Francisco with local criminal record” (p. 8).