Archive for the ‘prisons and prisoners’ Category

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report provides information on select international and regional measures and the laws of 97 jurisdictions from around the world that relate to allowing children to reside in prison with an incarcerated parent. Most of the countries surveyed impose specific age limits for a child’s admission into and length of stay in prison. Additionally, most of jurisdictions surveyed require that prisons that admit children meet certain standards.

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New From the GAO

October 10, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Immigration Detention: Additional Actions Needed to Strengthen Management and Oversight of Facility Costs and Standards. GAO-15-153, October 10.
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2. Nuclear Weapons: Some Actions Have Been Taken to Address Challenges with the Uranium Processing Facility Design. GAO-15-126, October 10.
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Prisoners In 2013

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Prisoners In 2013
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents final counts of prisoners under the jurisdiction of state and federal correctional authorities on December 31, 2013, collected by the National Prisoner Statistics Program. This report includes the number of prison admissions, releases, noncitizen inmates, and inmates age 17 or younger in the custody of state or federal prisons. It also presents prison capacity for each state and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the offense and demographic characteristics of yearend federal and state prison populations. The report examines capacity and enhanced sentencing data from California state prisons between 2010 and 2013 to chart the progress of the state’s Public Safety Realignment policy.

Taking the First Step: Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Taking the First Step: Using Behavioral Economics to Help Incarcerated Parents Apply for Child Support Order Modifications
Source: MDRC

The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, sponsored by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the first major opportunity to apply a behavioral economics lens to programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States. Led by MDRC, the project applies behavioral insights to issues related to the operations, implementation, structure, and efficacy of selected social service programs and policies, with the goal of learning how tools from behavioral science can be used to deliver programs more effectively and, ultimately, to improve the well-being of low-income children, adults, and families.

This report presents findings from a behavioral intervention designed to increase the number of incarcerated noncustodial parents in Texas who apply for modifications to reduce the amount of their child support orders. Incarcerated noncustodial parents have a limited ability to pay their child support orders each month, due to their incarceration, which can lead to the accumulation of significant child support debt. The Texas Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG’s) Child Support Division operates a program that contacts incarcerated noncustodial parents via mail, informs them of the option to apply for order modifications, and provides instructions on how to begin the process. In the past, less than one-third of contacted parents responded to the outreach and applied for a modification — less than expected, given the benefits they gain from modifying their orders.

The BIAS project diagnosed bottlenecks in the application process, hypothesized behavioral reasons for the bottlenecks, and designed behaviorally informed changes to the mailing sent to incarcerated noncustodial parents. It revised the letter to make it more readable, printed it on blue paper so that it would stand out, pre-populated a section of the application, and sent a postcard before the letter was sent and another postcard following the letter to those who had not responded. While this was a low-cost effort (less than $2 per person), the revised outreach increased the application response rate to 39 percent, an 11 percentage point increase over the control group’s response rate of roughly 28 percent. Program administrators hope that this is an important first step in a causal chain hypothesized to reduce child support arrears owed, leading, in turn, to an increase in the likelihood that, on release, parents will support their children.

Prison and Crime: A Complex Link; Crime drop since 1994 has been bigger in states that cut imprisonment rates

October 5, 2014 Comments off

Prison and Crime: A Complex Link; Crime drop since 1994 has been bigger in states that cut imprisonment rates
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

Two decades after Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — with lawmakers focused on locking up more offenders for longer periods — the nation’s imprisonment rate has climbed 24 percent and crime has declined 40 percent. But research shows that many other factors have been at work in the nation’s crime drop and several states have demonstrated that it is possible to reduce imprisonment and crime at the same time.

New From the GAO

September 30, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Afghanistan Equipment Drawdown: Progress Made, but Improved Controls in Decision Making Could Reduce Risk of Unnecessary Expenditures. GAO-14-768, September 30.
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2. Bureau of Prisons: Information on Efforts and Potential Options to Save Costs. GAO-14-821, September 30.
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3. Unmanned Aerial Systems: Department of Homeland Security’s Review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Use and Compliance with Privacy and Civil Liberty Laws and Standards. GAO-14-849R, September 30.

4. Elections: Observations on Wait Times for Voters on Election Day 2012. GAO-14-850, September 30.
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Press Release

1. GAO Makes Appointment to PCORI Governing Board. September 30.

Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System

September 30, 2014 Comments off

Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System
Source: Urban Institute

This new Urban Institute study provides an in-depth examination of the growth patterns in the largest correctional system in the United States—the US Bureau of Prisons. The number of prisoners age 50 or older experienced a 330 percent increase from 1994 to 2011. The authors find that the proportion of these older prisoners is expected to have an even steeper growth curve in the near future and they may consume a disproportionately large amount of the federal prison budget. Recommendations for policy and research include expanding data-driven knowledge on older prisoners and developing cost-effective management plans for them.


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