The Quebec government considers program evaluations to be a necessity if public organizations are to monitor and improve their performances. However, relatively few evaluations are conducted in prisons, despite the important need for programs in such an environment. The numerous challenges that face researchers who attempt such evaluations may partially explain the reluctance to undertake them. This article traces and explains the process used by a team of researchers in evaluating an addiction program in a provincial prison.
For Quebec's government, program evaluation is now regarded as a necessity in order for public organizations to monitor and improve their performance (Lalande, 2010). However, relatively few evaluations are conducted in prison, despite the significant needs (Cortoni & Lafortune, 2009). The numerous challenges facing researchers may partially explain their reluctance. This article deals with the challenges faced by a team of researchers in the evaluation of a specialized addiction program offered in a provincial prison and the strategies implemented to overcome those challenges.