Monday, December 27, 2010

Collateral Effects of Incarceration on the Economic Mobility of Ex-Offenders and their Families

With 2.3 million Americans behind bars and more than 2.7 million minor children with a parent incarcerated, it is imperative that policymakers understand the economic and social costs of incarceration for ex-offenders, their children and families, and communities.

A new report by The Pew Charitable Trust’s Economic Policy Group and the Pew Center on the States looks at the collateral costs of incarceration, most strikingly its effects on ex-offenders’ economic mobility. The report finds that incarceration reduces ex-offenders’ earnings by 40 percent and their time working by nine weeks annually. Such long-term earnings losses contribute to former inmates’ struggle to move from the bottom of the earnings distribution. Because more than half of all male inmates were the primary source of financial support for their children, according to the report, the economic consequences of incarceration significantly affect the economic security of ex-offenders’ children.

The report also highlights issues of racial equity regarding the collateral consequences of imprisonment, looking at the concentration of incarceration among African American men and its striking effects for their long-term economic success.

Visit our homepage to sign up for email updates--recommendations for results-based workforce strategies to support reintegrating ex-offenders are coming soon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Evidence-Based Juvenile Justice Work

A new resource, Improving the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice Programs, from the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, offers new perspectives in evidence-based practice. The paper is aimed at helping states translate research into improved practice and expanding the benefits of the vast knowledge base about “what works” in the juvenile justice field. The report includes: an overview of the different approaches to evidence-based practice; a tool developed by Dr. Mark W. Lipsey to better make use of the significant knowledge in the field, and a section that embeds this new approach within a comprehensive juvenile justice framework. The tool included in the paper can be used to measure the effectiveness of a variety of existing juvenile justice programs as well as to provide states with recommendations on how to improve them.

For more on reducing juvenile detention.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The High Cost of Obesity

The obesity epidemic in the United States is having serious and wide-spread health implications for millions of Americans. More than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are now overweight and one-third is obese. While obesity has been a public health concern for some time, there have been few comprehensive studies on the economic cost of obesity in the United States. The Brookings Institution article, The Economic Impact of Obesity in the United States, addresses the economic impact of the countries’ obesity epidemic. The report states that the economic costs of obesity in the United States could exceed $215 billion annually, from direct medical spending, lost productivity, and increased transportation costs. Obesity and obesity-related costs are so significant that it is important for policymakers to take the issue very seriously as both a matter of public health and fiscal responsibility.
Visit our homepage to sign-up for e-mail updates on results-based policy to reduce and prevent childhood obesity- coming soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New on! Policies to Increase High School Completion

Individuals and society alike benefit from increased high school graduation rates. High school graduates earn more, live longer and make greater contributions to society on a number of measures than those who drop out. In contrast, high school dropouts face bleak economic futures and the cost to society is in the billions of dollars. In comparison to other industrialized democracies, the United States graduation rate is low; this is a risk to the nation’s competitive standing in the global economy. For policies to increase high school completion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The November Unemployment Numbers

Unemployment continues to be high; The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the unemployment rate climbed slightly in November to 9.8 percent (up from 9.6 percent in October). This means that there are approximately 15.1 million unemployed people in the United States. Additionally, unemployment is having a significant effect on members of minority groups with 16 percent of African Americans and 13.2 percent of Hispanic Americans reporting that they are unemployed.

While the private sector continues to report increases in job creation, the recovery is slow, and there are still more than 7 million fewer jobs in the U.S. today than when the recession began in 2007. Economic Snapshot for November 2010, by Christian Weller at the Center for American Progress, addresses the economic improvements being made, and why they haven’t yet positively impacted the families across the country experiencing unemployment, foreclosures and credit default at record rates.

Chad Stone at The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a statement regarding the November Unemployment numbers. Stone states that long-term unemployment remains a very serious concern. Over two-fifths (41.9 percent) of the 15.1 million people who are unemployed (6.3 million people) have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer (amounting to 4.1 percent of the labor force). Additionally, Stone states that it remains very hard to find a job. The Labor Department’s most comprehensive alternative unemployment rate measure — which includes people who want to work but are discouraged from looking and people working part time because they can’t find full-time jobs — remained at 17.0 percent in November, not much below its all-time high of 17.4 percent.

The Urban Institute is hosting a series of events addressing the U.S. job market. The events, solution-focused policy forums, will address strategies for job creation, labor market roadblocks for young workers and retirement barriers for older workers, and revamping the safety net so that it works during high, persistent unemployment. All event can be attended in-person or via webcast.

  • December 10, 2010: Jumpstarting the Job Market
  • January, 25, 2011: Young and Older Workers (Not) Entering and Exiting the Labor Market
  • February 23, 2011: How Should the Safety Net Be Retooled to Work in Times of High Unemployment?

For more strategies to promote Family Economic Success.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New on! Youth Transitioning From Foster Care

The Center for the Study of Social Policy has developed a new section on focused on youth transitioning from foster care. The new section was developed in partnership with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative  a leader in the field in developing effective strategies and policies to support foster youth. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative has been instrumental in bringing national attention to the issue of youth aging out of foster care without the supports necessary to be prepared for life. Their pioneering work has ensured that 1,000’s of youth leave foster care ready to be successful adults.

Visit for policies on expanding economic opportunities, affordable housing options and educational supports for transitioning youth.