Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol

The Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP) is a scoring system. It is used to estimate the impact of juvenile justice programs on reducing recidivism. The SPEP is a validated and data-driven rating system for evaluating program effectiveness.

The SPEP uses research on juvenile justice programs that reduce recidivism. To determine a SPEP score, the provider’s services are compared to characteristics of effective programs in the research.

Four characteristics of juvenile programs have been shown to predict reduced youth recidivism:

  • service type,
  • dosage,
  • quality of service, and
  • risk levels of the youth

Using the SPEP scoring system, these characteristics of juvenile services can be evaluated to determine approximately how effective a program will be in reducing recidivism.

SPEP is based on research conducted by Dr. Mark Lipsey of Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University.


EPISCenter's Role with SPEP

The EPISCenter works closely with juvenile probation departments and juvenile justice service providers to conduct the SPEP. From preparing for the SPEP, to making sense of the assessment findings, to performance improvement, our SPEP staff are involved every step of the way. Our three, full-time, Vanderbilt-certified SPEP trainers are available to answer questions about any part of the SPEP or to assist in understanding what a SPEP score means.

You can find out more about the SPEP or SPEP scores in Pennsylvania by contacting the SPEP Project Manager, Shawn Peck.


More Resources about SPEP

Counties Interested in Participating in SPEP new!

If you are interested in adopting or implementing the SPEP in your county fill out this form with some background information on your county for the SPEP Advisory Group (AG) to review. Completing the form enables the AG to develop a plan for how the SPEP roll-out might look in PA. Completing the form does not commit the county or AG to piloting SPEP in that county. This form's sole purpose is for information sharing and gathering between interested counties and the AG.

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