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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 […]

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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 […]