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Latest Reports from the Justice Policy Center

 
 
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Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System (Research Report)
KiDeuk Kim, Bryce Peterson

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.

Posted to Web: September 05, 2014Publication Date: September 05, 2014

Close-Range Gunfire around DC Schools (Research Report)
Samuel Bieler, Nancy G. La Vigne

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.

Posted to Web: September 03, 2014Publication Date: September 03, 2014

Prison Inmates' Prerelease Application for Medicaid (Research Report)
Kamala Mallik-Kane, Akiva Liberman, Lisa Dubay, Jesse Jannetta

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.

Posted to Web: August 05, 2014Publication Date: August 01, 2014

Lessons from the States: Responsible Prison Reform (Testimony)
Nancy G. La Vigne

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, 2014Publication Date: July 15, 2014

Examining Racial Disparities in the Sixth Judicial District of Iowa’s Probation Revocation Outcomes (Research Report)
Helen Ho, Justin Breaux, Jesse Jannetta, Malinda Lamb

The Urban Institute examined racial disparities in the probation revocation rates in Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District. Black probationers in the study sample were revoked at significantly higher rates than both white and Hispanic probationers. Disparities in revocation outcomes persisted after controlling for available legal and demographic factors. A little over half of the black-white disparity in revocation rates was attributable to group differences in characteristics other than race. This brief situates the study in the context of the SJD’s past efforts addressing disparities in probation processes and outcomes and discusses potential future directions in light of the study findings.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Probation Revocation (Summary)
Jesse Jannetta, Justin Breaux, Helen Ho, Jeremy Porter

This brief presents summary findings from an Urban Institute study examining the degree of racial and ethnic disparity in probation revocation outcomes and the drivers of that disparity in four diverse probation jurisdictions. Black probationers were revoked at higher rates than white and Hispanic probationers in all study sites. Differences in risk assessment scores and criminal history were major contributors to the black–white disparity. Results for disparity to the disadvantage of Hispanic probationers were mixed. The brief concludes with a discussion of policy implications for probation and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Responding to Racial Disparities in the Multnomah County’s Probation Revocation Outcomes (Research Report)
Justin Breaux, Kimberly Bernard, Helen Ho, Jesse Jannetta

The Urban Institute examined racial disparities in probation revocation rates in Multnomah County, Oregon. Black probationers in the study sample were twice as likely to experience a revocation as were white and Hispanic probationers, although the base rate of revocations was very low for all groups. Disparities in revocation outcomes persisted after controlling for available legal and demographic factors. This brief situates the study in the context of Multnomah County’s past efforts to improve probation practices and address disparities in probation processes and outcomes. It discusses policy implications and future directions for improvement in light of the study findings.

Posted to Web: July 08, 2014Publication Date: June 30, 2014

Five Steps to Pay for Success: Implementing Pay for Success Projects in the Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems (Research Report)
John Roman, Kelly Walsh, Samuel Bieler, Samuel Taxy

This technical report provides an in-depth review of the PFS model, the state of the field, and the strategic planning and five-step process needed to execute high-performing projects. The report contextualizes the PFS framework within the model of existing state and federal legislation and notes key issues and obstacles that jurisdictions interested in pursuing the model will need to address.

Posted to Web: June 11, 2014Publication Date: June 11, 2014

Pay for Success and Social Impact Bonds: Funding the Infrastructure for Evidence-Based (Presentation)
John Roman, Kelly Walsh, Samuel Bieler, Samuel Taxy

This presentation provides an overview of how to use strategic planning upfront to develop PFS-financed projects that bring the most effective evidence-based programs to fruition. Once strategic planning is complete, jurisdictions should follow a five step process that uses cost-benefit analysis to price the transaction and a randomized control trial to evaluate impact.

Posted to Web: June 11, 2014Publication Date: June 11, 2014

An Overview of Pay for Success: Funding the Infrastructure for Evidence-Based Change (Presentation)
John Roman, Kelly Walsh, Samuel Bieler, Samuel Taxy

Understanding existing research evidence informs the selection of rigorous interventions, the local capacity needs to provide services, the pricing and performance targets for the PFS transaction and the evaluation expectations. This general overview of the strategic planning and five-step process needed to support high-quality PFS projects discusses current opportunities in criminal justice and highlights the model’s advantages and disadvantages.

Posted to Web: June 11, 2014Publication Date: June 11, 2014

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