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Latest Reports from the Justice Policy Center

 
 
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The Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Thinking Local for State Justice Reinvestment (Research Report)
Elizabeth Davies, Samantha Harvell, Lindsey Cramer

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. This policy brief considers the importance of collaboration with local justice partners in the formulation and implementation of state­ level justice reinvestment solutions. It highlights the need to share data to identify and implement cost­ saving solutions, partner to promote successful policy implementation, and invest locally.

Posted to Web: March 24, 2015Publication Date: March 24, 2015

Drivers of Growth in the Federal Prison Population (Research Report)
Samuel Taxy

The federal prison population has grown by 750 percent since 1980, resulting in rapidly increasing expenditures for incarceration and dangerous overcrowding. In response, Congress created the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections to examine trends in correctional growth and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. Following the example of many states that have recently engaged in criminal justice reform, the first step for the Task Force is to understand the underlying drivers of growth in the prison population.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2015Publication Date: March 11, 2015

Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex (Research Report)
Meredith Dank, Jennifer Yahner, Kuniko Madden, Isela Banuelos, Lilly Yu, Andrea Ritchie, Mitchyll Mora, Brendan Conner

Based on interviews with 283 youth in New York City, this is the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter. The report documents these youth’s experiences and characteristics to gain a better understanding of why they engage in survival sex, describes how the support networks and systems in their lives have both helped them and let them down, and makes recommendations for better meeting the needs of this vulnerable population.

Posted to Web: February 25, 2015Publication Date: February 25, 2015

Early Implementation Findings from Responsible Fatherhood Reentry Projects (Research Report)
Jocelyn Fontaine, Shelli B. Rossman, Lindsey Cramer, Hannah Dodd, Helen Ho, Jeremy Levy, Dave McClure

The Urban Institute is evaluating the implementation of six Community-Centered Responsible Fatherhood Ex-Prisoner Reentry Pilot Projects funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The projects provide soon-to-be and recently released fathers and their families with an array of responsible parenting, healthy relationship, and economic stability services to help stabilize the fathers and their families. Services offered include parenting and relationship classes, financial literacy workshops, domestic violence services, support groups, family activity days, and case management. The pilot projects partner with various criminal justice agencies and community- and faith-based organizations to provide support to fathers and their families.

Posted to Web: February 06, 2015Publication Date: February 06, 2015

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement (Occasional Paper)
Akiva Liberman, Jocelyn Fontaine

Boys and young men of color are overrepresented in all aspects of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, at considerable cost to those involved, their families, and their communities. This overrepresentation is most acute for African Americans, although other communities of color are also affected. This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.

Posted to Web: February 04, 2015Publication Date: February 04, 2015

Former US Reps. Announce Federal Corrections Task Force (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Former US Representatives J.C. Watts, Jr. and Alan Mollohan announced the establishment of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections: a nine-person, bipartisan blue-ribbon panel mandated by Congress to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. Watts will serve as the Colson Task Force’s chair and Mollohan will serve as its vice-chair.

Posted to Web: December 09, 2014Publication Date: December 09, 2014

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Experiences from the Local Sites (Research Report)
Lindsey Cramer, Samantha Harvell, Dave McClure, Ariel Sankar Bergmann, Erika Parks

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.

Posted to Web: November 03, 2014Publication Date: October 31, 2014

Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning (Research Report)
Akiva Liberman, David S. Kirk, KiDeuk Kim

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.

Posted to Web: October 24, 2014Publication Date: October 24, 2014

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (Research Report)
Colleen Owens, Meredith Dank, Amy Farrell, Justin Breaux, Isela Banuelos, Rebecca Pfeffer, Ryan Heitsmith, Katie Bright, Jack McDevitt

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.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations (Research Report)
Nancy G. La Vigne, Pamela Lachman, Shebani Rao, Andrea Matthews

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.

Posted to Web: October 15, 2014Publication Date: October 15, 2014

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