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Gun Violence Kills Business Growth and Jobs: Report

An Urban Institute study released June 1 found that sudden spikes in gun violence can reduce the growth of new businesses, while neighborhoods with higher gun violence had fewer retail and service businesses, and fewer new jobs. The study looked at six U.S. cities.

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Fed Drug Offenders ‘Average 11 Years in Prison Under Mandatory Minimums’

More than three quarters of individuals serving drug offenses in federal prisons were convicted of an offense that carries a mandatory minimum penalty, and in 59 percent of those cases the average expected time served was 11 years, according to a data brief released Thursday by the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Correction and the Urban Institute. That was almost twice the penalty given drug offenders who were not convicted under the mandatory-minimum rules. “Long federal drug sentences are […]

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Tracking Reentry Nationwide: Strategies That Work

Providing inmates the opportunity to engage with community service providers prior to release from prison and ensuring they receive immediate support after release are among the most effective strategies for successful reentry, according to a report co-authored by the Research Triangle Institute and the Urban Institute. In “Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Programs Implementation Challenges and Lessons Learned,” the authors evaluate the effectiveness of several programs that aim to reduce recidivism by providing former inmates with education, job […]

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Forecasting the Impact of Prison Reforms

A new tool developed by the non-profit Urban Institute aims to estimate the potential “effect, by state, of policies that aim to reduce prison admissions and length of stay for the most common types of offenses.” The Prison Population Forecaster uses data from 15 states, which account for about 40 percent of the national prison population, “to forecast population trends and project the impact of changes on rates of admission or lengths of stay in prison.” Researchers who analyzed prison […]

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How Prisoners Can Successfully Return Home

Participants in an experimental community program in Chicago focused on prisoner reentry are “significantly less likely to be returned (to prison) for a technical violation,” according to a new study by the non-profit Urban Institute. Researchers examined Safer Return, a program that provides returning prisoners with comprehensive family-inclusive case management, prerelease and post-release transitional planning, housing, mentoring, physical and mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, transitional employment opportunities, job placement. In addition, the program includes community residents who help build […]

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BOP’s High Security Facilities Are Most Overcrowded

Overcrowding in the federal prison system is concentrated in the highest security facilities, according to new data released by the Congressional Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections and the Urban Institute. The nine-person, bipartisan task force is mandated by Congress to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. “Though overcrowding has begun to fall in lower security facilities, at fiscal yearend 2014 overcrowding remained at 39 percent in medium and 52 percent in […]

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Labor Trafficking: From Recruitment to Escape

Legal loopholes and lax enforcement help traffickers trap laborers in agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction, according to a new study by the non-profit Urban Institute. The study tracks labor trafficking victims from recruitment through victimization and attempts to escape and get help, as well as through civil or criminal cases seeking justice for “crimes resembling slavery.” Researchers analyzed a sample of 122 closed labor trafficking victim service records from service providers in four US cities, and interviewed labor […]