Dilemmas behind bars: A realist evaluation of an ethics training program for prison officers in two Belgian prisons
In this doctoral dissertation, the researcher will carry out an evaluation of an integrity program aimed at improving the ethical behavior of staff involved in the criminal justice system. Integrity programs are increasingly designed and adopted by organizations in various sectors and aim at tackling unethical behavior and stimulating ethical behavior of managers and employees of the organization. Such integrity programs can consist of various components including integrity training sessions, formal mentoring programs and the development of an ethics code. In spite of the widespread enthusiasm about integrity programs, research to evaluate the impact of such programs has been scarce. This doctoral dissertation aims at addressing this research gap by carrying out a thorough evaluation of an integrity program, designed for application within the criminal justice system. This will be done using the promising ‘realistic evaluation’ approach. This approach, first developed by Pawson and Tilley in 1997, emphasizes the importance of contextual factors and of the underlying mechanisms that make an intervention succeed or fail. Rather than ‘what works?’, the question is ‘’What works for whom and why?’ Following a thorough review of the literature on integrity within the criminal justice system as well as on integrity programs, we will first design and then execute an integrity program in a criminal justice organization in Belgium. That program will then be evaluated using the realistic evaluation approach.