Latest Reports from the Justice Policy Center
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Experiences from the Local Sites (Research Report)
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Local governments across the U.S. are striving to improve public safety and optimize criminal justice investments. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) supports these efforts by convening justice system decision-makers to devise data-driven approaches to criminal justice reform that will generate savings that can be reinvested in evidence-based public safety strategies. The Urban Institute has monitored the progress of the 17 local jurisdictions currently engaged in JRI. This brief summarizes interim findings on the activities of those sites, including major contributors to system costs and corrections populations, policy options to address those issues, and expectations for savings and reinvestment of resources.
Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: November 03, 2014||Publication Date: October 31, 2014|
Does arresting juveniles deter or promote future offending, and how does it affect the chances of future arrests? These questions were studied through official arrest data and self-reported offending data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, using propensity score methods. First arrests increased subsequent offending and subsequent arrest through separate processes, and the effects on rearrest were substantially larger. Being labelled as an arrestee seems to trigger "secondary sanctioning" processes beyond any effects on offending. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious "labeling" effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses.
Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 24, 2014||Publication Date: October 24, 2014|
This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.
Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 21, 2014||Publication Date: October 21, 2014|
Police have been stopping, questioning, and frisking pedestrians for decades in an effort to protect themselves and the public from harm. However, pedestrians may view the stop and frisk experience as unjustified and perceive that they are subject to unfair and overly aggressive treatment. These feelings are most pronounced for those residing in high-crime areas that are targets for intensive stop and frisk activities. Because citizens’ views of the police contribute to their willingness to cooperate with and empower law enforcement, minimizing the negative effects of stop and frisk is crucial for overall police effectiveness and is especially important for improving relations with communities of color. This publication discusses the constitutionality and legal precedents of stop and frisk and the theory and practice behind these street stops. This background is followed by a discus¬sion of stop and frisk’s unintended consequences and a series of practical recommendations for the lawful and respectful use of pedestrian stops in the context of community policing.
Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 15, 2014||Publication Date: October 15, 2014|
This study evaluates two of Allegheny County (PA)’s programs to improve the successful reintegration of jail inmates following their return to the community. Both programs were designed to reduce re-offending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and the use of evidence-based programs and practices. Urban researchers conducted process and outcome evaluations of these programs to answer critical questions about program performance and effectiveness. The process evaluation examined alignment with core correctional practices, while the outcome evaluation examined rearrests for reentry program participants and two comparison groups of offenders (total N=798). Analyses indicate that both reentry programs reduce rearrest and prolong time to rearrest. These findings are supported by ample evidence of strong program implementation.
Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 06, 2014||Publication Date: October 06, 2014|
Improving recidivism data collection and reporting is a critical first step to advancing our knowledge about what works in sentencing and corrections policy. This brief outlines the necessary elements that every state should use when defining, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating recidivism data. It offers a blueprint for gathering a broad range of reoffending indicators, accurately comparing across groups and over time, and using the results to inform decisionmaking and improve outcomes. Improving our ability to accurately track data on reoffending is critical for the next generation of policy-relevant and action-oriented recidivism research.
Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure Webinar
Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 01, 2014||Publication Date: October 01, 2014|
This new Urban Institute study provides an in-depth examination of the growth patterns in the largest correctional system in the United States—the US Bureau of Prisons. The number of prisoners age 50 or older experienced a 330 percent increase from 1994 to 2011. The authors find that the proportion of these older prisoners is expected to have an even steeper growth curve in the near future and they may consume a disproportionately large amount of the federal prison budget. Recommendations for policy and research include expanding data-driven knowledge on older prisoners and developing cost-effective management plans for them.
Close-Range Gunfire around DC Schools (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: September 05, 2014||Publication Date: September 05, 2014|
This report examines the incidence of gunfire as measured by gunshot detection technology using data from the 2011-2012 school year. It finds that a disproportionate volume of gunfire happened near a small share of DC schools. About half of DC schools covered by gunshot detection sensors are in close proximity to gunfire, and four schools were subject to repeated bursts of gunfire. These findings shed new light on students' exposure to violence and raise important questions about the psychological impact of gunfire on students and how their proximity to gunfire may affect truancy and educational outcomes.
Prison Inmates' Prerelease Application for Medicaid (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: September 03, 2014||Publication Date: September 03, 2014|
People returning from prison to the community have historically been uninsured, despite having physical and behavioral health problems that may perpetuate a cycle of relapse and reoffending. We describe Oregon's pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) process to enroll released prisoners into its state-financed Medicaid program for childless adults. Sizeable numbers participated, including many with mental health and substance abuse problems. Persons leaving prison were as likely as the general population to submit Medicaid applications and less likely to be denied. Challenges arose when the application process straddled prison release, but the ACA simplifies the process and may increase enrollment efficiency.
Lessons from the States: Responsible Prison Reform (Testimony)
|Posted to Web: August 05, 2014||Publication Date: August 01, 2014|
In this testimony before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, Urban's Director of the Justice Policy Center, Nancy La Vigne, highlights the lessons learned from responsible prison reform in the states and discusses the federal prison system, its challenges and opportunities for reform. She also discusses the importance of both front- and back-end changes to yield meaningful and lasting reforms.
|Posted to Web: July 15, 2014||Publication Date: July 15, 2014|