When a government needs to invest in an expensive capital project — a new sewer system, bridge or highway — it issues bonds. The hot new idea in social programs – finance prevention programs to cut recidivism, reduce homelessness or keep kids in school by selling bonds, to be paid only if the program is a success.Read More
The California prison system is overwhelmed after adopting tough-on-crime laws with no improvement. New York adopted more tolerant policies and has decreased the state's crime rate and its prison population.Read More
Two Iranian brothers worked as doctors to reform how Iran tackles HIV, moving the country toward the harm reduction approach. By providing clean needles and methadone, the doctors were able to lower infection rates, even in prisons.Read More
Veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder number about one-fourth of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, roughly 500,000 veterans so far. Inmates in prisons nationwide train dogs as companions for these war veterans, providing a sense of healing for all.Read More
Rampant misconduct by judicial systems across the country brought to light a crippling practice of debtors' prisons—where disadvantaged individuals unable to pay fines and fees were continually and wrongfully imprisoned, creating a vicious cycle. The American Civil Liberties Union stepped in to work with governments and private companies to increase transparency, eliminate abuse, and reeducate law enforcement officials. The state of Ohio has emerged as a leader in reforming debtors' prisons, though there is still work to do.Read More
Prisons in the United States are overcrowded with many non-violent offenders and the cost to keep them in jail consumes public budgets. Criminal justice reform has attracted bipartisan interest with diverse proposals to aid adjust the incarceration rate. The Urban Institute has developed an interactive “prison population forecaster,” which helps citizens to assess the impact of different policies.Read More
Many offenders get out of jail owing hundreds or thousands of dollars in court and parole fees but face barriers to financing and job acquisition, sticking them in a punitive, vicious cycle of debt and arrest. A program called the Clapham Set, perhaps paired with conditional cash transfers - may be a solution, as it erases fees for felons who complete rehab and job training upon release.Read More
A non-traditional program called the Family Independence Initiative (F.I.I.), uses a radically different approach from the traditional American social service model to empower entire families alleviate themselves from poverty. The results in multiple states thus far have been so striking, that this model of self-sufficiency may be able to have a significant impact reducing poverty nationwide.Read More
Felons get out of jail owing hundreds or thousands of dollars in court and parole fees, acting as an often insurmountable barrier preventing them from reintegrating into society and staying out of jail. What's worse, these fees often end up costing the state more than they produce. Two columns on a program called the Clapham Set, which erases or reduces debts for felons who take classes and job training.Read More
A positive transformation in a Mississippi prison has become a focal point for a growing number of states rethinking the use of long-term isolation. Humanitarian groups have long argued that solitary confinement has devastating psychological effects, but a central driver in the recent shift is economics. Some officials have also been persuaded by research suggesting that isolation is vastly overused and that it does little to reduce overall prison violence.Read More
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