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We can label the design, execution, delivery, and interpretation of a given program as part of a strategic evaluation plan. Organizations have a vested interest in tracking its programs in such a way not only in the interest of posterity, but to determine impact and future replicability. Another part of this evaluation process includes the dissemination and discussion of critical findings to and with a wider audience; an audience made up of academics, field experts, and laypersons. Offering findings to such a public audience means making collection methods and interpretation vulnerable. It also, however, offers an opportunity to refine practices, gain exposure, and find new partners and advocates.

Since 2011, The Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana has committed itself to providing direct service in New Orleans and across the state of thousands of people touched by the criminal justice system and looking to re-enter society anew. Both the Expungement and Re-Entry Court programs focus on remediating the effects of a criminal record, helping to move people from perpetual cycles of poverty onto stable personal, social, and financial pathways. We recognize our programs as a template that can and should be reused, repurposed, and redesigned for the widest possible application. It is for this reason that JAC has aimed to integrate a mode of data collection and assessment into all its work. Moreover, for that evaluation to be analyzed and presented to critical audiences. Program Analyst and Ph.D. Candidate, Mathew Woessner, recently had the opportunity to do just that. Kicking off in mid-September and continuing through the end of November, you’ll find him as a constant presence in the academic and professional conference circuit. A presentation and discussion of several JAC programs serves as the focus, facilitated by conference panels where new and innovative ideas about program delivery can be shared. Mathew first attended the Southern Criminal Justice Association’s (SCJA) annual meeting in Pensacola Beach, Florida on September 13th where he discussed financial insecurity as a core predictor of re-arrest. Looking at past criminal record and ongoing discrimination as sources of insecurity, the audience took a deep interest in discussing how expungements make serve as an intermediary treatment. The most recent, a visual presentation at the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association (MCJA) in Chicago, dissected the demographic characteristics of JAC’s target population.

This work continues with future presentations on mental and emotional health as correlates to re-entry and expungement need, as well as a mapping of causal linkages between expungements and long-term employment and housing security. JAC is exited to be sharing its mission, history, and expertise with a captive audience. As we continue to our public forum campaign, we hope others will join the discussion. We believe firmly that the cultivation of scholarship can improve program delivery and help motivate reformers at all levels of the public and private sector.

For MORE information or a copy of presentation materials from any of the past or upcoming conferences, please email Mathew Woessner at

And PLEASE join JAC at the following upcoming events:

  • Southwestern Criminal Justice Association; San Antonio, TX October 17-19

  • American Society of Criminology; Atlanta, GA November 14-17

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