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Adult Learners: Who are they & what do they need to be successful?

November 15, 2023

THE GREAT EIGHT identified adult learners as a key factor when asked aboutsuccessful policies and practices that drive their student success initiatives. Thiscase study will examine who adult learners are, what they want from college, howto support them, and the Great Eight evidence-based practices they use to helpadult learners succeed during and after their college experience.  

The Great Eight: A Resource Guide Dedicated to Alabama's Historically Black Community Colleges & Predominantly Black Community Colleges (HBCC/PBCC)

November 9, 2023

This resource guide focuses on Alabama's Historically Black Community Colleges and Predominantly Black Community Colleges and provides detailed information about the enrollment, retention, transfer and graduation rates at these institutions. 

Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure: A Telehealth Case Study of Ten Southern Rural Counties

April 25, 2023

This project examines 10 counties in rural Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi to explore how the costs of achieving true digital equity - by extending robust broadband infrastructure into areas missing it - can be offset by utilizing the potential of telehealth to improve healthcare delivery.To do so, this report first identifies the most common health issues affecting residents in these 10 counties, and draws on academic scholarship to demonstrate the benefits that could come from effective telehealth interventions for each. These conditions include diabetes, chronic respiratory disease (including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema), heart disease and heart failure, cancer, obesity, and mental health conditions associated with other health conditions, resulting in high overall costs and adverse effects on people's quality of life, like depression and PTSD.Second, it models the cost savings that can be gained from telehealth interventions in reducing the cost of services that are driving the highest costs today. These include preventable hospital admissions, preventable hospital readmissions, and preventable emergency department visits. It also calculates other recapturable savings that would benefit these communities at large, including the lost economic productivty that goes along with missed work, the avoidable transportation costs that come from being able to visit the doctor remotely, and the avoidable carbon emissions that come from driving to in-person doctor visits.The results are striking by themselves, but even more so together. By the most reasonable conservative estimates, we show that preventable emergency department visits, preventable hospital admissions and readmissions, and lost economic productivity offer huge savings opportunities for these ten counties, totaling almost $43 million each year.

Afterward: When Violence Occurs in Alabama, the State's Concept of Justice Leaves Out the Voices of Many Victims, Survivors, and Their Communities

April 24, 2023

Crime and punishment drive Alabama politics. Every time a major story about crime or violence or prisons breaks in the news, there is backlash from Alabama law enforcement and lawmakers calling for even more punitive measures in response. That backlash often provokes passionate responses from advocacy groups who point toward existing failures in our system of mass incarceration and raise concerns about the likely effects of making our justice system even harsher.A few survivors' voices occasionally rise to the surface. But the people who have the most power to create or change laws and policies in the wake of violence bear little resemblance to the people who are most harmed by it. Meanwhile, the cycle continues. Afterward is an effort to broaden the discourse and bring unheard voices into the conversation where they belong.

Unsustainable: Alabama's Increasing Trend of Keeping the Elderly Behind Bars

November 4, 2022

Alabama's reliance on life imprisonment for a wide range of offenses has resulted in soaring numbers of older, incarcerated people trapped in prison until death. The costs are enormous, simultaneously draining state resources and impacting the ability of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) to effectively manage prisons. The sheer increase in the numbers of older, incarcerated people is stunning: In 1972, there were 181 individuals over the age of 50 in Alabama's prisons. That number now exceeds 6,750.This report seeks to determine just how much Alabama's rapidly aging prison population correlates with increases in the Department of Correction's financial burdens and systemic strain. Understanding the unsustainable nature of Alabama's aging prison population—and how the situation has reached a boiling point— exposes the necessity of comprehensive short and long term reform. Without reform, current trends indicate the uncontrollable expense of punishing thousands of people until they die will have severe consequences both for state budgets and prison safety.

Collaborative Outcomes from the Youth Justice and Employment Community of Practice

October 18, 2022

Established in mid-2021, the Youth Justice and Employment Community of Practice (CoP) is a partnership of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC), and Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) formed to improve outcomes for youth with justice involvement by increasing collaboration among local workforce and juvenile justice systems. The CoP began during the middle of COVID-19 at a time when counterparts in each jurisdiction were seeking to reestablish pandemic-disrupted communication and collaboration. CoP participants met monthly to share knowledge and expertise on topics of importance to both systems. Based on work from the CoP, participating cities and counties produced notable improvements in building relationships, expanding partnerships, and promoting investments that benefit justice-involved young people in their communities. This report documents successes and offers recommendations for others seeking to improve outcomes for these young people.

A Bitter Pill: Prisons Have Become the Deadly Epicenter of Alabama's Addiction Crisis, Even As the State's Response Begins to Show Signs of Success Elsewhere

September 21, 2022

Every year from 2012-2020, Alabama ranked first in the nation for opioid prescriptions per capita. Since 2014, the opioid addiction has claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 Alabama residents who died by overdose, and disrupted the lives of countless more.Since 2017, many state agencies have collaborated successfully via the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council to chart a better path. The state has invested in treatment and peer specialists and reframed addiction as a public health issue, not a moral failing. For people who manage to steer clear of jails and prisons, things are starting to look up. But the combination of harsh criminal laws, the nation's highest opioid prescription rate, and Alabama's under-resourced jails and violent and dysfunctional prisons mean that many of the people who need treatment most are not getting it. Instead, they are dying preventable deaths in record numbers. Something must change.

The Cost Per Shooting: Mobile, Alabama

April 22, 2022

The true governmental cost of gun-violence to the City, County and State of Mobile, AL.

The Cost Per Shooting: Birmingham, Alabama

April 22, 2022

The true governmental cost of gun-violence to the City, County and State of Birmingham, AL.

How Cross-Branch Collaboration Helps States Strengthen Evidence-Based Policymaking

March 10, 2022

Over the past decade, The Pew Results First initiative has worked with 27 states to implement an innovative evidence-based policymaking approach that helps them to invest in policies and programs that are proved to work—ensuring that states moved over $1.1 billion toward more effective services. Although many states have made important gains in evidence-based policymaking, sustaining these efforts can be difficult. Turnover among leadership and staff, inadequate staff capacity to generate evidence, lack of political will to use evidence, insufficient buy-in from stakeholders within and outside government, and an absence of formal procedures between the executive and legislative branches can hinder this work.To overcome these challenges and promote the sustainability of their evidence-based policymaking work, leaders across the country have engaged in cross-branch collaboration, a deliberate effort to create or deepen formal partnerships between executive and legislative branch representatives who use evidence to make budget and policy decisions. This helps to ensure that policymakers in these branches routinely prioritize evidence in the budget process, establish a shared commitment to and ownership of this work across government, and build an ingrained culture of evidence use throughout the decision-making process.Results First has identified three strategies for improved cross-branch collaboration: 1. incorporating collaboration into law; 2. developing diverse advisory groups; and 3. establishing shared tools and processes. Informed by an online review of cross-branch efforts and 30 interviews with executive and legislative branch decision-makers (including legislators and staff, executive agency leaders and staff, and gubernatorial appointees), this issue brief provides a detailed look at how five states (Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, and North Carolina) have implemented the three strategies outlined above, including the challenges they faced and insights they gained.The brief can serve as a resource for policymakers who are looking to advance and sustain the use of evidence in state government through cross-branch collaboration. Although all three branches of state governments perform important and distinct roles in determining and executing policy, this brief will focus only on collaborative efforts between the executive and legislative branches because they are routinely involved in overseeing the state's budget development and implementation.

Extreme Gerrymanderers

February 22, 2022

Gerrymandering is the intentional practice of manipulating the boundaries of congressional districts to provide an unfair advantage for a specific party or group. The practice has increasingly created barriers to representative democracy and allows politicians to select their voters, rather than allowing voters to pick their politicians.New maps that create the boundaries between congressional districts are drawn every 10 years, following each decennial census. In the wake of the 2020 Census, state legislators crafted a number of hyperpartisan and discriminatory gerrymanders. This report highlights a dozen of the worst.

Democracy Defended: Findings from the 2020 Election

September 2, 2021

Despite an unprecedented series of challenges—a global pandemic, extreme weather, rampant misinformation, voter intimidation, and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters of color—Black voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to have their voices heard in one of our nation's most important election years.But let's be clear. The election did not go smoothly. Record turnout nationally and in many states was only possible thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of many non-profit organizations and many thousands of individuals and volunteers, as well as the enormous sums of money spent on election security and countering misinformation.