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Urban Institute (Washington, DC)

This is "the first study to focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW) who get involved in the commercial sex market in order to meet basic survival needs, such as food or shelter. The report documents these youth’s experiences and characteristics to gain a better understanding of why they engage in survival sex, describes how the support networks and systems in their lives have both helped them and let them down, and makes recommendations for better meeting the needs of this vulnerable population " (website). Sections of this report include; highlights; youths' engagement in the commercial sex trade for survival; current study goals and methodology; findings regarding the characteristics of LGBTQ youth, YMSM, and YWSW engaged in survival in New York City, the pathways into the survival-sex trade for this population, the characteristics of the commercial sex market, how much the youth earn and how they spend these earnings, the physical risks to them and how they protect themselves, the ways others help the youth find customers, the number of youth involved in exploitative situations, the composition of the youths' network, and the youths' perceptions of engaging in survival sex; discussion and summary; policy and practice guidelines; and main findings.

Surviving the Streets of New York: Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex Cover

“In an effort to introduce approaches that reduce both recidivism and court costs, Philadelphia District Attorney (DA) Seth Williams spearheaded the development and testing of an alternative-to-incarceration program for first-time, nonviolent felony drug dealers facing one to two-year minimum mandatory state prison sentences. The program, known as The Choice is Yours (TCY), diverts these offenders away from prison into both 1) TCY court (essentially a problem-solving Philadelphia Municipal Court featuring a dedicated judge who has repeated contact with program participants to monitor their progress and motivate compliance using rewards and sanctions and 2) a suite of community-based social services and supports directed by JEVS Human Services (JEVS) and their partner agencies, the Pennsylvania Prison Society (PPS) and the Center for Literacy (CFL)” (p 1). Sections of this report include: introduction; the Choice is Yours program model—eligibility determinations, TYC Court, TYC community-based program (orientation phase, enrollment phase, and graduation), and the connection between stakeholders; TCY participants—who they are, early successes, program completion, program services, employment and education, and recidivism; key lessons learned from early implementation—communication, ongoing data collection, analysis, and reflection; and conclusion with final thoughts. The re-arrest rate for program graduates is 4.6 percent.

The Choice is Yours: Early Implementation of a Diversion Program for Felony Offenders Cover

“This brief summarizes the efforts of states involved in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a program designed to identify and implement cost-efficient, evidence-based criminal justice reforms. To do so, jurisdictions use data analysis to identify criminal justice population and cost drivers and then develop policy options to reduce those drivers.” Correctional population and cost drivers include: parole and probation revocations; sentencing policies and practices; insufficient and ineffective community supervision and support; and parole system processing delays and denials. Strategies for reducing the costs related to these challenges include: risk and needs assessment; expansion or improvement of problem-solving courts; intermediate and graduated sanctions; increased use of evidence-based practices; expanded incentives, such as good time and earned credits; penalty changes; streamlines parole processes and expanded parole eligibility; expansion and increase in community-based treatment programs; mandatory supervision requirements; and accountability measures. The principle ways cost savings, resulting from improved justice systems, are reinvested are: reinvestment of tangible savings—funding based on the amount of costs that have been saved; up-front reinvestment--funding based on projected future savings; and reallocation—funding based on redirecting existing monies.

he Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Experiences from the States Cover

"Local governments across the U.S. are striving to improve public safety and optimize criminal justice investments … This policy brief considers the importance of collaboration with local justice partners in the formulation and implementation of state­ level justice reinvestment solutions. It highlights the need to share data to identify and implement cost­ saving solutions, partner to promote successful policy implementation, and invest locally." Sections cover: sharing data to identify and implement cost-saving solutions; Spotlight—Ohio; partnering with local stakeholders to promote successful policy implementation—sentencing, Spotlight—resource incentives for local placement in Pennsylvania, release mechanisms, community supervision, and California's public safety realignment and voter-led initiatives to reduce incarceration; investing locally; "thinking state" (partnering at the state level) in crafting local justice reinvestment solutions; and conclusion.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative Cover

"The federal prison system is by far the nation’s single largest jailer, with a total of 205,795 inmates at the beginning of October 2015. That’s roughly 50,000 more people in custody than in the second-largest prison jurisdiction, Texas. Though the states collectively incarcerate the majority of people in prison in the United States—nearly 1.4 million as of 2014—any conversation about mass incarceration must consider the federal prison population. The growth, size, and cost of the federal system jeopardize the safety and security of inmates and staff, restrict the ability to provide programs designed to reduce recidivism, and crowd out other fiscal priorities … [this Forecaster] uses Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) data and incorporates trends and recent changes in the federal criminal justice system to forecast population trends and the impact of changes to rates of admission or lengths of stay. This tool is designed to highlight the unique drivers of the federal prison population and the types of policy changes that will be necessary to reduce the BOP population. All numbers reported in this feature (unless otherwise noted) are from the end of fiscal year 2014, and all projections are of impacts through 2023.

The Prison Population Forecaster // Federal Prison Population Cover

"Roughly 2.2 million people are locked up in prison or jail; 7 million are under correctional control, which includes parole and probation; and more than $80 billion is spent on corrections every year. Research has shown that policy changes over the past four decades have put more people in prison and kept them there longer, leading to exponential growth in the prison population even while crime has dropped to historic lows. But despite widespread agreement that mass incarceration is a serious problem, the national conversation is light on details about what it will take to achieve meaningful and sustainable reductions … To advance the policy conversation, decisionmakers and the public need to know the impact of potential policy changes. Our Prison Population Forecaster can estimate the effect, by state, of policies that aim to reduce prison admissions and length of stay for the most common types of offenses. The tool currently uses data from 15 states, representing nearly 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 … This forecasting tool paves the way for a more productive conversation about the need for tailored reforms that address the unique drivers of mass incarceration in each jurisdiction" (p.1). This website provides interactive access to these statistics comprising the Forecaster: select one of 15 states or all states; select offense/admission type—violent, nonviolent, property, drug, revocations, and all offenses; select policy change—reduce new admissions, and reduce length of stay; and state percent reduction—reduce by 5%, 10%, 25%, and 50%. The article looks at: the reforms needed to reduce mass incarceration at the state level; rethinking who goes to prison and how long they stay; and whether there is any low-hanging fruit left—more methods to reduce national prison populations.

The Prison Population Forecaster//State Prison Population Cover

This "background analysis examines how individuals with mental illness are processed and treated in the criminal justice system and discusses the implications of insufficient or inadequate care for these individuals. In particular, the main objectives of this paper are to review current practice in the processing of mentally ill offenders, assess societal and economic costs associated with recidivism and insufficient care for this population, and highlight promising strategies to tackle challenges involved in the reintegration of mentally ill offenders into society" (p. 1). Sections following an executive summary are: introduction; research objective and focus—severe mental illness among individuals involved in the criminal justice system; data and methodology; findings related to the scope of the problem, costs associated with managing mentally ill individuals in the criminal justice system, current practice and policy, and criminal justice programs and interventions for mentally ill individuals; research and policy recommendations; and conclusion.

The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System: A Scan of Practice and Background Analysis Cover

“Consistent with effective correctional practice, jails and their community partners should identify risk levels and criminogenic needs of returning [offender] populations and should focus their resources on individuals with the highest levels of both … This brief presents the two-stage screening and assessment process to determine risk and needs levels that is a core element of the Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) model” (p. 1). Sections of this publication include: the TJC initiative; risk and need in a triage approach; risk screening—selecting a screening instrument, administering risk screening, norming and validating the screening instrument, and using screening data; TJC screening principles; proxy triage risk screener; key implementation lessons learned—screening to determine risk of offending and assessment of criminogenic need; TJC assessment principles; assessment of criminogenic need--selecting an assessment instrument, administering assessment, and using assessment information; key implementation lessons learned—assessment of criminogenic risk/need; and lessons learned from the TJC site implementation.

The Role of Screening and Assessment in Jail Reentry Cover

The Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) initiative is described. “The TJC initiative is designed to advance coordinated and collaborative relations between jails and local communities to address reentry, leading to enhanced public safety, reduced recidivism, and improved individual reintegration processes” (p.1). Sections of this document are: introduction; jail transition—challenges and opportunities; the TJC model; system-level elements—leadership, vision, and organizational culture, collaboration and joint ownership, data-driven understanding of local reentry, targeted intervention strategies, and self-evaluation and sustainability; intervention-level elements—screening and assessment, transition plan, targeted interventions, and triage planning; and next steps.

The Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) Initiative Cover

"Through no fault of their own, millions of children have been exposed to and affected by the criminal justice system by witnessing their parent being arrested, by seeing their parent in court, or by visiting their parent in jail or prison. Indeed, many of the thousands of adult men and women who are arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated each year leave behind minor children who must grapple with their parent’s absence for days, months, or years. Although such exposure does not always result in negative outcomes for children, the extant research does suggest that parental involvement in the criminal justice system can put children at risk of residential instability, economic strain and financial hardship, mental health problems, poor academic performance, and antisocial and delinquent behavior. Parental involvement in the system can be traumatic for children and can hinder the quality of the relationship they have with their parent … This toolkit and the strategies and experiences described herein are intended for people who are interested in developing family-focused jail programs in their own jurisdictions, such as jail practitioners and community-based organizations working with jail administrators and jail detainees" (p. 1). Sections cover: family-focused jail programs; Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights; considerations for developing a comprehensive family-focused jail program—identify goals, ensure that the process is collaborative, determine what components should be in the program (parenting classes, coached phone calls, contact visits, and others), and implement the program (program structure and sequence, eligibility, and staff training); challenges and lessons learned (have adequate and appropriate space for the various program components, strike a balance between having fun and providing a service, minimize the trauma associated with visiting a parent in jail, account for high population turnover in jails, and secure adequate, sustainable funding); and conclusion.

Toolkit for Developing Family-Focused Jail Programs Cover

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