Why is auditing and or evaluation important in the operation of public and private sector criminal justice?
Auditing and evaluation are important because without them there is no way to be sure that a criminal justice organization is operating properly.
Auditing and evaluation can have two purposes. One purpose is to use an audit of the organization’s financial records to ensure that their money is being spent properly. The other purpose is to make sure the organization is reaching its goals and is doing so in an efficient and appropriate way. Both of these purposes are very important.
If an organization does not conduct financial audits, money can be wasted or even embezzled. For example, a prison might overpay for services that it buys from local companies. As another example, money that is meant to be used for programs for prison inmates might be used instead to pay for upgrades to the guards’ cafeteria. These are things that should not be happening but could happen if there is no auditing.
If an organization does not conduct evaluations, it will not know if it is reaching its goals. For example, a police force might not know that it is not reducing crime. A parole supervision organization might not know that many of its clients are ending up returning to prison. These are the sorts of things that can be uncovered in evaluations.
Thus, audits and evaluations help to ensure that organizations are operating properly.