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Crime and Justice

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The criminal justice system's actions in both preventing and responding to criminal behavior have implications for the safety, well-being, and financial stability of communities throughout the country.

In an era of diminishing state and federal budgets and limited resources for community services, it is critical that research and analysis is available to guide the allocation of scarce criminal justice resources in a manner that yields the most beneficial impact on the individuals and jurisdictions affected by crime.

Justice Policy Center

Researchers in the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center produce such research, evaluating programs and analyzing data in an effort to guide federal, state, and local stakeholders in making sound decisions that will increase the safety of communities nationwide.

Featured Justice Policy Center Research

 
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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

Certificates of Public Advantage: Can They Address Provider Market Power? (Research Report)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Robert A. Berenson

Heath care costs too much, largely because American medical providers command high prices. Waves of mergers have consolidated markets for care and created market power for remaining providers. Antitrust has done too little to prevent the merger frenzy, and policy makers badly need additional tools. This case study highlights one underappreciated alternative, a Certificate of Public Advantage. COPAs are unusual, but one has for nearly two decades overseen the behavior and costs of a merged hospital system in western North Carolina. We detail the accomplishments and shortcomings of this quasi-regulatory public oversight, which is more targeted than full-scale rate regulation.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2015Publication Date: February 18, 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

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