Courts, Policing and the Law


 
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Drivers of Growth in the Federal Prison Population (Research Report)
Samuel Taxy

The federal prison population has grown by 750 percent since 1980, resulting in rapidly increasing expenditures for incarceration and dangerous overcrowding. In response, Congress created the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections to examine trends in correctional growth and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. Following the example of many states that have recently engaged in criminal justice reform, the first step for the Task Force is to understand the underlying drivers of growth in the prison population.

Posted to Web: March 11, 2015Publication Date: March 11, 2015

Certificates of Public Advantage: Can They Address Provider Market Power? (Research Report)
Randall R. Bovbjerg, Robert A. Berenson

Heath care costs too much, largely because American medical providers command high prices. Waves of mergers have consolidated markets for care and created market power for remaining providers. Antitrust has done too little to prevent the merger frenzy, and policy makers badly need additional tools. This case study highlights one underappreciated alternative, a Certificate of Public Advantage. COPAs are unusual, but one has for nearly two decades overseen the behavior and costs of a merged hospital system in western North Carolina. We detail the accomplishments and shortcomings of this quasi-regulatory public oversight, which is more targeted than full-scale rate regulation.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2015Publication Date: February 18, 2015

The Framework for Safer Return: A Research-Based Community Initiative (Research Report)
Shelli B. Rossman, Jocelyn Fontaine, Rochelle Perry

Safer Return—funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and designed jointly by Urban Institute researchers and Safer Foundation staff—was an action research demonstration implemented in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood between 2008 and 2013. This brief retrospectively describes the context in which the program model was developed, the activities performed during the strategic planning process, existing evidence-based or promising programs examined for possible inclusion in Safer Return, features of the model as it was initially conceptualized, and the proposed multi-method research design that uses a quasi-experimental approach and primary and secondary data collection to capture individual, family, and community results.

Posted to Web: March 28, 2014Publication Date: March 28, 2014

Community Ties, Public Safety and Reentry: Residents' Perspectives (Research Brief)
Jocelyn Fontaine, Douglas Gilchrist-Scott

This brief focuses on community surveys conducted in Garfield Park and West Englewood in November 2009 as part of the evaluation of the Safer Return Demonstration. The brief discusses residents’ perspectives on community resources, social control and cohesion, police officials, crime and victimization, and perceptions of individuals returning from prison to the community. It finds the two neighborhoods comparable in sociodemographic characteristics and that the reentry context in both neighborhoods is depressed overall, but worse in West Englewood than Garfield Park. There is tremendous support for returning prisoners among community residents, which assists Safer Return and other community-based reentry programs.

Posted to Web: March 28, 2014Publication Date: March 28, 2014

Organizational Efficiency and Early Disposition Programs in Federal Courts (Research Report)
KiDeuk Kim

Early disposition or "fast-track" programs in federal sentencing allow a prosecutor to offer a reduced sentence in exchange for a defendant's prompt guilty plea and waiver of certain legal rights. Based on immigration cases in federal districts, this study finds that fast-track participants received a modest reduction in sentence length compared to otherwise similar non-participants. The estimated reduction in case processing time attributable to fast-track programs was also of moderate consequence to the government. The report discusses policy implications of fast-track processing in terms of organizational efficiency and fair treatment of defendants in federal court.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2014Publication Date: January 24, 2014

Justice Reinvestment Initiative State Assessment Report (Research Report)
Nancy G. La Vigne, Samuel Bieler, Lindsey Cramer, Helen Ho, Cybele Kotonias, Debbie Mayer, Dave McClure, Laura Pacifici, Erika Parks, Bryce Peterson, Julie Samuels

Seventeen Justice Reinvestment Initiative states are projected to save as much as $4.6 billion through reforms that increase the efficiency of their criminal justice systems. Eight states that had JRI policies in effect for at least one year – Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina – reduced their prison populations. Through the Initiative, states receive federal dollars to assess and improve their criminal justice systems while enhancing public safety. This report chronicles 17 states as they enacted comprehensive criminal justice reforms relying on bipartisan and interbranch collaboration. The study notes common factors that drove prison growth and costs and documents how each state responded with targeted policies.

Posted to Web: January 27, 2014Publication Date: January 27, 2014

17 States Expected to Lower Prisoner Populations, Slow Prison Growth, and Save Billions through Innovative Justice Reforms: Urban Institute Assesses Impact of Federally-Funded Justice Reinvestment Initiative (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Seventeen Justice Reinvestment Initiative states are projected to save as much as $4.6 billion through reforms that increase the efficiency of their criminal justice systems. Eight states that had JRI policies in effect for at least one year – Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina – reduced their prison populations. Through the Initiative, states receive federal dollars to assess and improve their criminal justice systems while enhancing public safety. This report chronicles 17 states as they enacted comprehensive criminal justice reforms relying on bipartisan and interbranch collaboration. The study notes common factors that drove prison growth and costs and documents how each state responded with targeted policies.

Posted to Web: January 27, 2014Publication Date: January 27, 2014

'Stand Your Ground' Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force: Testimony before the Senate Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights (Testimony)
John Roman

Stand your ground laws, which extend the right to use deadly force in self-defense beyond the home, exacerbate racial disparities in the rate at which homicides are found to be justified, John Roman told a Senate subcommittee. In homicides of blacks committed by whites, 11.4 percent were found to be justified, while in homicides of whites committed by blacks, only 1.2 percent were found to be justified. The racial disparity is larger in states with stand your ground laws, and racial disparities increase in stand your ground states after the law is enacted.

Posted to Web: October 29, 2013Publication Date: October 29, 2013

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