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Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence: A Road Map for Safer Communities

April 28, 2016

Groundbreaking research by Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) and Lester and Associates was released on April 28, 2016 alongside a policy roadmap that lays out a series of proposed policy solutions for gun violence based on conversations with community stakeholders in Richmond, VA, Milwaukee, WI, and Stockton, CA. The research and report grew out of a project launched last year by The Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies, The Urban Institute and The Joyce Foundation. The study found that African Americans and Latinos believe that fixing the gun violence crisis in the United States is a pathway to addressing issues with the criminal justice system, including police-community relationships and mass incarceration.

Engaging Communities in Reducing Gun Violence: A Road Map to Safer Communities

April 1, 2016

Gun violence inflicts a devastating toll on communities of color, but the justice system response to this violence frequently destabilizes neighborhoods and damages police-community relations. To develop a better response, the Urban Institute, Joyce Foundation, and Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies convened more than 100 people from communities affected by violence. We learned that violence prevention demands a holistic set of solutions. Limiting access to firearms is part of the solution, but a comprehensive strategy will also require improving police-community relations, investing in community services, and facilitating community leadership in violence prevention efforts.

The Science of Policing Equity: Measuring Fairness in the Austin Police Department

February 23, 2016

This brief is a partnership between Urban and the Center for Policing Equity's National Justice Database, in collaboration with the White House's Police Data Initiative. The brief analyzes publicly available data in 2015 vehicle stops and 2014 use of force incidents on the part of the Austin Police Department. Findings indicate that even when controlling for neighborhood levels of crime, education, homeownership, income, youth, and unemployment, racial disparities still exist in both use and severity of force. We also document that APD has a high level of transparency, and the analysis demonstrates the value of that democratization of police department data in examining whether community-level explanations are sufficient to explain observed racial disparities.

Stemming the Tide: Strategies to Reduce the Growth and Cut the Cost of the Federal Prison System

November 5, 2013

The federal prison population has escalated from under 25,000 inmates in 1980 to over 219,000 today. This growth has come at great expense to taxpayers and other important fiscal priorities. As policymakers consider the array of options to stem the tide of inmates, our research concludes that a combination of strategies is the best way to make a real impact. In this report, we evaluate various policy options for cutting the size and costs of the burgeoning federal prison system.

The Growth & Increasing Cost of the Federal Prison System: Drivers and Potential Solutions

December 1, 2012

The federal prison population has been growing dramatically; its current population exceeds 218,000, with projections of continued growth for the foreseeable future. A wide array of actors -- Members of Congress, administration officials, a bipartisan cast of policy advocates, and researchers -- has concluded that this growth and its associated costs are unsustainable. The basis for this conclusion varies:Fiscal impact. Resources spent on the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) eclipse other budget priorities.Overcrowding risks. Overcrowded facilities can jeopardize the safety of inmates and staff and limit opportunities for effective programming that can reduce recidivism.Fairness/equity concerns. High levels of incarceration may have disproportionate impacts on certain subpopulations and communities.Inefficient resource allocation. Current research and recent evidence-based policy changes implemented in states raise questions about the cost-effectiveness of existing federal sentencing and corrections policies.The focus on this burgeoning population provides an opportunity to explore the drivers of population growth and costs and to develop options for stemming future growth that are consistent with public safety goals.

Life After Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston

May 15, 2010

Examines the reentry experiences of 652 men in the three cities, including housing stability, family relationships, substance use, employment, and recidivism. Analyzes outcome predictors such as prison programs, job training, and family structure.

Release Planning for Successful Reentry: A Self-Assessment Tool For Corrections

January 29, 2010

Offers tools for evaluating prison services to help exiting prisoners meet basic needs including financial resources, housing, employment, and education; setting goals for improvement; and developing strategies for policy change. Lists best practices.

Women on the Outside: Understanding the Experiences of Female Prisoners Returning to Houston, Texas

June 5, 2009

Compares the experiences of women returning from prison with those of men, including being reunited with children and obtaining employment and child care. Explores policies and practices that would help support women prisoners' reentry.

Prisoner Reentry in Houston: Community Perspectives

May 14, 2009

Outlines the views of community members, local government, and the nonprofit sector on housing, employment, substance abuse, and other issues of prisoner reentry; policies and practices that affect reentry; and the roles of the community and stakeholders.

Release Planning for Successful Reentry: A Guide for Corrections, Service Providers, and Community Groups

September 26, 2008

Outlines the concept of release planning, identifies the fundamental needs released prisoners face in reentering society, and recommends ways for corrections agencies and community organizations to help meet those needs through improved release planning.

Charting a New Direction: Exploring the Future of Justice Mapping

September 23, 2008

Outlines how new mapping technologies help analyze the spatial dynamics of crime, prisoner reentry, poverty, poor health, low education levels, and homelessness, and the impact of criminal justice policies on communities. Discusses promising applications.

Mapping Community Data on Children of Prisoners: Strategies and Insights

September 22, 2008

Based on input from Reentry Mapping Network sites, presents best practices in mapping local data on children with parents in prison, in local jails, on probation, or on parole, to highlight their needs and the impact of parental incarceration on children.