How can we plan without data? Communications Manager Thomas Hanna looks at the value of current statistics in criminal justice.
As much of the country experiences cold winter weather, many people are thinking fondly about their coming summer vacations. But just imagine trying to plan a trip without up-to-date information — flight prices that are years old, hotels with no reviews, sightseeing websites with incorrect opening and closing dates. It would be difficult, and there is a good chance the outcome of the trip would be pretty disappointing.
Yet this is often how the nation routinely advances policy to address crime and community safety issues – using data that is often years old, incomplete, or lacking context. But unlike a poorly planned vacation, criminal justice policies have life or death consequences.
With support from Arnold Ventures, AH Datalytics (AHD) is trying to close this data gap and provide policymakers and stakeholders more up-to-date information on crime and crime trends with the hope that this can lead to better and more informed policy decisions. “The presence of data does not suddenly lead to perfect decision-making,” says Jeff Asher, co-founder of AHD, “but the absence of data is — in almost every respect — harmful.”
AHD’s plan includes developing and expanding a Real-Time Crime Index. To do so, it will reach out to more law enforcement agencies and municipalities with the goal of ultimately partnering with 500 jurisdictions. To facilitate and ease participation, AHD will provide agencies with training and technical support. Moving beyond data collection, AHD also plans to work with web developers and graphic designers to produce dynamic, easily accessible, downloadable imagery for policymakers, press, and the public.
Like planning a vacation, or any other important decision a person, family, or community has to make, effective criminal justice policy requires current data. “Central to evidence-based policy solutions is improving data transparency,” says Anita Ravishankar, director of criminal justice research at AV. “It’s hard to demand informed decisions when we don’t have even the basics, like a nationwide homicide rate, in our hands.”
As Congress examines the bipartisan tax package proposed by Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the flashpoints is the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and how to pay for it.
What’s Happening: The package trims the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a pandemic-era provision that rewarded businesses for keeping employees during the throes of the pandemic, to help pay for reforms to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and several business tax provisions. The CTC reform has the potential to help 16 million children.
Why It Matters: The Employee Retention Tax Credit, once a valuable incentive for businesses to retain employees during a moment of crisis, has turned into a fraud-riddled mess handing out aid to businesses years after the pandemic’s end.
What’s Next: The Ways and Means Committee passed the tax package with broad bipartisan support, and it will be up for a vote in the House in the next few weeks.
The cost of care when a Medicare beneficiary receives services at a hospital-owned outpatient department compared to an independent doctor’s office
Enacting site neutral legislation would protect rural patients and critical access hospitals. Off-campus hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) — the only facilities affected by the drug administration policy passed in the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act — are less common in rural areas. Nineteen percent of all Medicare outpatient spending is in rural areas, but only 7% of off-campus HOPD spending happens there. And facilities subject to site neutral reforms account for only 2% of all rural outpatient spending in Medicare.
Fox 5 News reports on how the Council of State Governments Justice Center recently presented data to a Maryland Senate committee showing that the number of unsolved serious crimes in the state (known as clearance rates) has been increasing in recent years.
A new report from The Boston Foundation and MassINC shows that the incarceration rate in Massachusetts has fallen significantly in recent years while at the same time crime rates have also been decreasing. While a “definitive link” cannot be established, the report suggests that these dual declines may be at least partially attributable to a raft of criminal justice reforms enacted by the state in 2018.
In an op-ed for the Georgia Recorder, Mark Spencer and Dominique Grant make the case that the state’s money bail system undermines community safety and wellbeing and should be rolled back rather than expanded.
In an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Helen Weston of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Nolan Center for Justice praises Virginia’s current and former governors Glenn Youngkin (R) and Ralph Northam (D) for enacting a series of evidence-based criminal justice reforms that have started to decrease the state’s prison population while maintaining one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country.
AV grantee Families USA published a report emphasizing the need for meaningful payment reform to reduce health care costs and achieve high-quality care.
AV grantee Brookings Institution published commentary on early experiences and challenges with the arbitration process under the No Surprises Act.
The Federation of American Scientists’ recently published a blog post calling for reform to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which regulates advisory committees at the Food and Drug Administration.
Low-income families would reap the majority of the benefits from temporary changes to the Child Tax Credit proposed in bipartisan, bicameral tax legislation, according to analysis from AV grantee the Tax Policy Center.
Kyle Pomerleau of AV grantee the American Enterprise Institute explains why a one-year lookback provision in the Child Tax Credit, as proposed in the pending bipartisan tax legislation, would not significantly impact the work incentives in the credit.
AV grantee the Committee for a Responsible Budget applauded the House Budget Committee markup of a bill to establish a Fiscal Commission — a critical first step on the path to fiscal sustainability.
A new report from the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia shines a light on the highly fractured pool of federal student loan borrowers and offers policy recommendations for borrowers who struggled to make payments.
A blog post from New America explains the U.S. Department of Education’s ongoing negotiated rulemaking process to better protect students receiving Pell Grants and other financial aid.
Efforts to address Minneapolis’ housing shortage have driven a wedge within the local environmentalist movement, Jerusalem Demsas writes in The Atlantic.
Climate and Clean Energy
In the Los Angeles Times, columnist Sammy Roth interviews Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), founder of the Conservative Climate Caucus, who has made global warming a focus of his political career.
What We're Listening To
BioCentury, a leading publication for biopharma and biotech executives, featured Arnold Ventures on its podcast this week, discussing the foundation's impact on drug pricing. If you subscribe, check out the accompanying article.
Save the Date
On Tuesday, February 13, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST, the Urban Institute will host "The Future of Federal Support for Small Businesses," a panel discussion both in person and on Zoom. Speakers will include Arnold Ventures Public Finance Program Integrity Fellow Doug Criscitello. Learn more and register here.
That Houston hospitality is most definitely present in the Rodeo's 35,000+ volunteers, who serve on 110 different committees as well as on the fairgrounds every day (they can point you toward the turkey legs as well as the mutton bustin'). Come on down, y'all. We'd love to see you.
We're Seeking Proposals
The Higher Education and Evidence-Based Policy teams have created a request for proposals for rigorous impact evaluations of programs and practices (“interventions”) to promote college success in the United States.
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