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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 […]

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Can a Big Dose of Community Policing Fix ‘Stop-and-Frisk’?

The controversial “stop, question and frisk” strategy should be reviewed and refined with the principles of community policing in mind, a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute suggests. Supported by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, the report was assembled to help guide “law enforcement on how to conduct pedestrian stops in a manner that promotes crime control objectives while minimizing negative outcomes that can ultimately undermine police effectiveness.” At a program yesterday to discuss the new publication, […]

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Report: Public Bears Financial Costs of Gun Violence

The public pays a substantial portion of the hospital costs for gun injuries, according to a new report from the non-profit Urban Institute. Researchers analyzed 2010 healthcare data from six states­—Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wisconsin—and found that public health insurance covered an estimated 52 percent of the roughly $670 million spent nationally on health care for victims of firearms. “These findings also support previous research suggesting that the consequences of gun violence are disproportionately concentrated among […]

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Gunfire Regularly Occurs Near D.C. Schools

More than half of all shootings during Washington, D.C.'s 2011-2012 school year occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, according to a new study by the non-profit Urban Institute. Researchers examined data recorded by ShotSpotter, a gunfire detection system, between 7am and 7pm during the 2011-2012 school year. During that time, 54 percent of D.C. schools covered by gunfire-detection technology had at least one burst of gunfire occur within 1,000 feet of the school. Nearly half of all incidents, 48 […]

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A ‘Pay for Success’ Guide

A new report from the non-profit Urban Institute outlines a five-step model for ensuring the sustainability and quality of “pay for success” social impact bond programs. The report contextualizes “pay for success” within the restrictions of current legislation and notes key obstacles that programs and investors face. “Pay for success” involves private investors financing social programs — often related to criminal justice — and receiving returns only if the programs are successful. “Juvenile and criminal justice systems have extensive barriers […]

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How the Sex Trafficking Industry Works

American sex trafficking has become an enormously lucrative industry, according to a new Urban Institute study that estimates the scope of the underground sex economy. Sex trafficking and prostitution in just eight cities studied for the report are estimated to have brought in between $39.9 million and $290 million in 2007. Researchers interviewed 261 stakeholders and convicted offenders for the study, including local and federal law enforcement officers, prosecutors, pimps, sex traffickers, sex workers and child pornographers. The study estimates […]

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“Massive Return” Seen For Justice Reinvestment

“Justice reinvestment” initiatives under way in 17 states with federal and Pew Charitable Trusts funding have the potential to achieve a “massive return” on the investment of $17 million so far, said a federally-sponsored assessment issued today by the Urban Institute. More efficient handling of offenders in the justice system could save $4.6 billion in the states as prison populations are reduced over many years, the institute estimated. Participating states “have enjoyed both measurable successes and positive cultural and organizational […]

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LGBT Youth and Dating Violence

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teenagers are at much greater risk of dating abuse than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a new study on teen dating violence. Researchers at the Urban Institute analyzed data from a larger study on teen dating violence and technology, in order to examine abuse through the lens of sexual orientation and gender identity. Nearly one in four LGBT youth — 23 percent — who took part in the study reported being the victims of […]

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Is Arrestee DNA Collection Cost-Effective?

The implementation of state laws expanding DNA collection to include arrestees has caused significant administrative and analytical burdens on state laboratories and collecting agencies, according to a study by the non-profit Urban Institute. In order to assess the affects of arrestee DNA laws, researchers examined how courts have interpreted DNA provisions, how they have been implemented at state laboratories and collecting agencies, and the growth of DNA databases as a result of the laws. The study found that arrestee DNA […]