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Violence Policy Center;
This study examines the problem of black homicide victimization at the state level by analyzing unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data for black homicide victimization submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The information used for this report is for the year 2017. This is the first analysis of the 2017 data on black homicide victims to offer breakdowns of cases in the 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates and the first to rank the states by the rate of black homicide victims.It is important to note that the SHR data used in this report comes from law enforcement reporting at the local level. While there are coding guidelines followed by the law enforcement agencies, the amount of information submitted to the SHR system, and the interpretation that results in the information submitted (for example, gang involvement) will vary from agency to agency. This study is limited by the quantity and degree of detail in the information submitted.
Measures for Justice;
Despite accounting for a substantial portion of local, state, and federal budgets, our criminal justice institutions are among the least measured systems in our country. In an effort to bring transparency to this sector, MFJ has collected, standardized, and made public 20 states' worth of criminal justice data.The purpose of this report is to share what we have learned through this effort, including: (a) what we cannot see when data are missing, and (b) the value that data can provide when they are available and comparable. In particular, we identify patterns around the following:There is a substantial lack of data around pretrial detention and release decision-making, as well as individual demographics (particularly indigence).New data privacy laws are also making it needlessly difficult to obtain certain data. This poses challenges to understanding how individuals experience the system in cases that do not result in conviction.There is great variation in how counties dispose of and sentence nonviolent cases; how financial obligations are imposed on individuals; and the collateral consequences that individuals face when convicted.Across many of these findings, where demographics are available, we have an opportunity to identify and respond to significant disparities in group outcomes.This report challenges stakeholders and policymakers to dig deeper into these patterns and missing data. It also implores policymakers and legislators to improve criminal justice data infrastructure to ensure a more transparent, fair, and equitable implementation of justice.
Strategies that advance eviction and homelessness prevention are complex, often misunderstood, and poorly utilized. Just as strategies that address homelessness when it occurs, preventing homelessness requires root cause analysis, systems change, targeting of resources, policy changes for organizations and systems, research and evaluation, and using data to plan, establish metrics, and measure progress. This report describes how a local community – Montgomery County, PA – took a strategic look at what was working in other communities and how these strategies might advance eviction and homelessness prevention in their community.
Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health;
There is a major flaw in federal firearm laws in the U.S. and in most states' laws; prohibited purchasers can acquire firearms from unlicensed private sellers without subjecting themselves to background checks and record-keeping requirements. Violent criminals and traffickers exploit this weakness with fatal consequences. This report discusses the need to improve background checks and handgun purchaser licensing laws which would result in reduced gun deaths.
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council;
Why this research project, and why now? There is urgency to this inquiry. It is written against the real-world backdrop of patterns of cultural appropriation, omission, and exclusion in the Pittsburgh area arts community dating back decades. Racial Equity and Arts Funding in Greater Pittsburgh is an opportunity to promote understanding about past and current practices regarding race and arts funding in Greater Pittsburgh. It is an inquiry into how resources, in the form of competitive grants programs by public arts agencies and private foundations, are distributed.This report offers recommendations on how equity issues can be addressed through revisions to grantmaking policies and procedures, with the goal of making some features common practice among all funders, both public and private. Recommendations include broader initiatives that go beyond grantmaking processes to policy shifts and special programs.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
Integrated Planning and Advising for Student Success (iPASS) is an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support colleges that seek to incorporate technology into their advising and student services. In iPASS, such technology is intended to increase advising's emphasis on a student's entire college experience, enabling advisers to more easily (1) intervene when students show early warning signs of academic and nonacademic challenges, (2) regularly follow up as students progress through college, (3) refer students to tutoring and other support services when needed, and (4) provide personalized guidance that reflects students' unique needs.To study how technology can support advising redesign, MDRC and the Community College Research Center partnered with three institutions already implementing iPASS: California State University, Fresno; Montgomery County Community College; and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The three institutions increased the emphasis on providing timely support, boosted their use of advising technologies, and used administrative and communication strategies to increase student contact with advisers. The enhancements at all three institutions are being evaluated using a randomized controlled trial research design.This report shows that the enhancements generally produced only a modestly different experience for students in the program group compared with students in the control group, although at one college, the enhancements did substantially increase the number of students who had contact with an adviser. Consequently, it is not surprising that the enhancements have so far had no discernible positive effects on students' academic performance. The findings also highlight the potential for unintended consequences. Before the study, each of the institutions had required that certain groups of students see an adviser before registering for classes in the next semester. Each institution expanded this preregistration requirement to include all students in the study's program groups, but at one institution, the requirement appears to have contributed to a small reduction in earned credits.
Center for American Progress;
This report examines how the pernicious problem of partisan gerrymandering stymies efforts toward sensible reforms in several states—including North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia—despite strong public support for gun safety measures. These states provide some of the most extreme examples of gerrymandering: Even though Democrats won a majority of the statewide votes, control of the state legislatures remained with Republicans who, for the most part, have refused to allow meaningful debate on any commonsense gun safety measures. In each of these states, it is likely that, in the absence of partisan gerrymandering, the legislature would have enacted measures to strengthen gun laws—measures that could have saved lives.The report also puts forward a policy solution: States should require independent commissions to draw voter-determined districts based on statewide voter preferences. Implementing this policy would end partisan gerrymandering and increase representation for communities that have too often been shut out of the political system and also suffer the most from the lack of sensible gun safety legislation
As nonprofit organizations in the five Pennsylvania counties of Greater Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia) emerge from the financial crisis of the last decade and head into a very different and hard-to-forecast political and economic environment in the future, financial discipline, smart growth and strong governance are more important than ever. Accordingly, many nonprofit executives and governing boards are asking new questions about the organizations they govern. What risks do we face?1 How risky are we in relation to our peers? Are we doing the right things to understand and mitigate our risks? How should we balance financial risk against programmatic reward? What should we do to reduce the potential hardships from financial distress?
Over the course of this year, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration between 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic state and the District of Columbia, have been designing a new policy to curb carbon pollution from transportation. Key details are yet to be decided, but in broad strokes, the program would cap the amount of pollution from transportation in the region. Over time, that cap would decrease. Fuel distributors would have to pay for the pollution their fuels produce by buying allowances. The funds generated from the sale of those allowances would be distributed to the states participating in the program to invest in cleaner and better transportation options.As these states finalize the details of the program, new polling finds broad public support for the concept. The MassINC Polling Group conducted simultaneous surveys of registered voters in the seven largest TCI states: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.This report highlights key findings from the polling. Full topline results for the region and each state are appended to this report. Crosstabular results for the region each state surveyed are available online.
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission;
Presents alternative transit, land use, and development options that would support growth and maximize the effectiveness of public transportation in the region. Describes public participation in the development of the strategies.
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission;
Protected open spaces - public parks, preserved farmland, and private conserved lands - provide substantial economic, environmental, and public health benefits to surrounding communities. These benefits, however, are generally not well understood and are often undervalued in policy debates and investment decisions. In the interest of fostering a better understanding of these benefits, this study estimates the economic value generated by protected open space in southeastern Pennsylvania. Approximately 14 percent of the land area in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties is protected open space. This area includes parks and trails such as Ridley Creek State Park and the Schuylkill River Trail, working farms across southeastern Pennsylvania, and private land trust owned or eased lands. Building off of previous valuation studies and using standard economic analysis techniques, this study estimates the value of protected open space in southeastern Pennsylvania by measuring impacts across four areas: (1) the effects of protected open space on residential property values, (2) the value associated with environmental services provided by southeastern Pennsylvania's protected open spaces, (3) the value of recreational activity on protected open space and associated avoided health-care costs, and (4) jobs and revenue created as a result of activity on and connected to protected open space. This analysis indicates that protected open space adds significant value to the regional economy (see right), with benefits accruing to businesses, governments, and households. The economic benefits generated by protected open space accrue in different ways - some are direct revenue streams to individuals or governments, some represent asset appreciation value, some accrue in the form of avoided costs. Because these values differ in nature, the estimates in this study should not be added together to produce a single aggregate value of protected open space in southeastern Pennsylvania. The estimates presented in this study should provide elected leaders, policy makers, and the public with a new perspective on the value of protected open space and contribute to informed decisions concerning future development in southeastern Pennsylvania. It is important to note, however, that this study does not analyze the costs associated with acquiring, preserving, or maintaining land as protected open space, and does not represent a cost-benefit approach.