Resource Center for the Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol (SPEP™)

Duration: 2022 - Present
Funding: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
Principal Investigator: Janet Welsh

Juvenile justice


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. 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.

For more information on the SPEP program, visit the EPISCenter website: click here.

Project Team