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How States Are Using Executive Orders to Reduce Incarceration During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gun Victimization in the Line of Duty: Fatal and Nonfatal Firearm Assaults on Police Officers in the United States, 2014–2019

Trends in State Courts 2020


Make Your Own Job: The Promise of Entrepreneurship Education

A Functional MRI Study of Error Monitoring in Montessori and Traditionally-Schooled Children

Live Better U Skilled Trades Certificates

Using School and Child Welfare Data to Predict Near-Term Academic Risks: Fact Sheet


Incorporating Reliability Measures into the Freight Project Prioritization Decision Support System

Boosting Local Climate Resilience and Economic Opportunity in the COVID-19 Era

Quality-Adjusted Price Indices to Improve Productivity Measures in Highway Construction


Health of Former Cigarette Smokers Aged 65 and Over: United States, 2018

Comparison of 2017 to 2018 Changes in Insurance Coverage Across Surveys

Strategies to Improve Treatment for Post-9/11 Veterans with Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

July 31, 2020


As of July 12, 2020, more than 64,000 incarcerated individuals tested positive for COVID-19. A recent epidemiological study estimates that, unless action is taken, jails will cause between 100,000 and 200,000 additional deaths across the United States. To slow the spread, public health experts have urged policymakers to find ways to responsibly and rapidly reduce the number of people in jails and prisons. This data visualization shows which states have used executive orders to release or divert people from incarceration and which justice-involved populations are impacted by these policies. As of early June 2020, a total of 15 states had executive orders that limited incarceration by releasing or diverting people.

Source: Mathematica

Using open‐source data from the Gun Violence Archive, the authors analyze national‐ and state‐level trends in fatal and nonfatal firearm assaults of U.S. police officers from 2014 to 2019 (N = 1,467). Results show that most firearm assaults are nonfatal and there is no compelling evidence that the national rate of firearm assault on police has substantially increased during the last 6 years. In addition, there is substantial state‐level variation in rates of firearm assault on police officers. Officers in Mississippi, New Mexico, and Alaska experienced the greatest risk of being assaulted with firearms during the last 6 years. Both Mississippi's and New Mexico's average firearm assault rate from 2014 to 2019 were more than 2.0 standard deviations greater than the national mean (.47 firearm assaults per 1,000 officers); Alaska's rate was more than 1.5 standard deviations greater. Some geographically clustered states showed markedly lower rates of firearm assault on officers over this time period. For example, the 6‐year average firearm assault rate in New York and New Jersey was between .5 and 1.0 standard deviation below the national mean, and Connecticut was the only state with a 6‐year average rate more than 1.0 standard deviation below the national mean. Other geographic regions, however, show more apparent variation between states, such as in the southeastern United States where Florida—compared with Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina—seems to have been safer for police officers.

Source: Criminology and Public Policy

This publication includes a collection of articles and resources designed to help courts, and court professionals, stay on top of recent developments related to judicial administration and policies. Tables include links to state court COVID-19 websites, statewide plans to resume court operations, and virtual hearing software being used by state courts. Articles include how the Texas judiciary responded to COVID-19 and a cyberattack, how the Ninth Judicial Circuit in Florida (Orange and Osceola counties) works to provide virtual-remote interpreting for courts dealing with language barriers, and how online dispute resolution in Ohio has been used to bridge the gaps between access and social justice.

Source: National Center for State Courts


Though still a relatively small phenomenon, entrepreneurial education holds rare promise. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which inspired a business called “Events on Canvas”, has served approximately half a million young people since the 1980s. A handful of other entrepreneurship-education programs aim to inculcate similar skills in young people as well as those already in the labor market. One example program hosts gatherings in more than 100 communities for potential entrepreneurs to learn how to start businesses and funds online support courses as well. The promise of self-sufficiency is key. When entrepreneurship education is done well, it gives people the confidence that traditional job training often cannot: no matter what the local job conditions are, or what the broader economy looks like, you can always figure something out. The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship has also worked with entrepreneurship programs for young people in the criminal-justice system and reports that by being trained in self-agency, “a lot of young people who come from disadvantaged situations, even criminal backgrounds, can still see in their limited worlds some way to turn a passion they have into something more.”

Source: IssueLab

The development of error monitoring is central to learning and academic achievement. Error monitoring refers to the intrinsic ability to detect and evaluate outcomes that violate expectation and to adapt in response. Existing work suggests that error monitoring shares processing features with surprise or violation of expectations and serves as a basic orienting mechanism for subsequent behavioral adaptation and learning. However, few studies exist on the neural correlates of children’s error monitoring, and no studies have examined its susceptibility to educational influences. Pedagogical methods differ on how they teach children to learn from errors. Here, 32 students (aged 8–12 years) from high-quality Swiss traditional or Montessori schools performed a math task with feedback during functional MRI. Although the groups’ accuracies were similar, Montessori students skipped fewer trials, responded faster and showed more neural activity in right parietal and frontal regions involved in math processing. While traditionally-schooled students showed greater functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex, involved in error monitoring, and hippocampus following correct trials, Montessori students showed greater functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and frontal regions following incorrect trials. The findings suggest that pedagogical experience influences the development of error monitoring and its neural correlates, with implications for neuro-development and education.

Source: Nature Partner Journal, Science of Learning

In June 2020, Walmart announced an expansion of its Live Better U education benefit program to include six skilled-trades options. Live Better U is a skilled trades program that allows working adults to earn a high school diploma or a college degree for $1 a day. The new skilled-trade options added to the program were (1) facilities maintenance, (2) industrial maintenance, (3) HVAC / refrigeration, (4) electrical, (5) plumbing, and (6) construction trades. This infographic describes how the program is intended to work to bring an associate from hire to working in their trade of choice. Some people seek careers in areas such as skilled trades that require certificates, associate degrees, or other post-secondary education along with work-based learning components. The path to either a four-year college or alternative education programs is blocked for many people who lack the time, resources, and connections to invest in and successfully complete the education and training they need for the career they aspire to. As the program matures, the company will support associates in occupations requiring hours of work in addition to classroom knowledge for certification or licensing to find work with trained, experienced professionals in their chosen trade at Walmart, Sam’s Club, a member of the Walmart supplier network to gain additional hands-on experience and knowledge that will prepare them to meet their state’s occupational requirements.

Source: Aspen Institute

Many districts use early warning systems that identify students who are at risk of academic problems or dropping out of high school so they can better support these students. These systems often track attendance, behavior, and course performance; indicators that reliably identify students at risk of dropping out in large urban districts. Although districts typically do not incorporate non-academic risk factors into these systems, research has shown that homelessness, teenage pregnancy, child maltreatment, parental substance abuse, and unsafe living conditions are risk factors for negative school outcomes. This fact sheet describes predictors related to near-term academic problems, meaning academic problems in the next quarter or semester. It draws on a report that details the approach used to develop a predictive model and assesses how well the model identifies at-risk students. The study finds that 1) the strongest predictors of near-term academic problems include prior absences, low prior grades, and low prior performance on state tests; 2) predictive performance remains strong when the model relies exclusively on school data; and 3) some out-of-school events (such as child welfare placement, emergency shelter services, and involvement in the juvenile justice system) are individually correlated with near-term academic problems.

Source: Mathematica

Government Operations

Over the last decade, financial constraints have led public leaders and agency decision makers to request more information from proposed transportation projects in terms of cost effectiveness and expected job and economic growth potentials of the projects. This is evidenced in the persistent demand from the U.S. Department of Transportation to have a Benefit-Cost Analysis conducted for every project proposal requesting discretionary grant funds. This review of existing studies for freight transportation project evaluation reveals that most of the existing Benefit-Cost Analysis methodologies and analytical tools are not capable of capturing wider economic benefits of freight projects, such as improved travel time reliability, better accessibility to markets, and better connectivity to intermodal facilities. After a comprehensive examination of various research reports and guidelines at the federal levels, this review identified valid methodologies for quantifying wider economic benefits of freight transportation projects. These methods can produce metrics for the project’s long-term economic benefits and productivity beyond simple cost-effectiveness of a Benefit-Cost Analysis. With the data from case studies, a spreadsheet tool was developed. The tool integrates standard Benefit-Cost Analysis with analysis tools for wider economic Benefits, including reliability, market accessibility, and intermodal connectivity. A user guide is provided in this report to show users how to use the spreadsheet.

Source: Florida Department of Transportation

This brief asserts that mounting climate and economic impacts are leading to a perfect storm, where more proactive investment in resilience is crucial to safeguard our future—and to help places and people adapt and succeed in the face of tremendous change. It posits that now is the time to create a resilient platform for local growth, one that reduces uncertainty, expands economic opportunity, and ultimately adapts to an extreme climate through improvements to transportation, water, energy, and telecommunications systems. Building back better, though, is not just about physical upgrades (seawalls, permeable streets, rain gardens, etc.) that improve the performance and reliability of our built environment. It is about strengthening our local levers for action, which includes advancing policies and plans that address climate impacts on all types of households, boosting local fiscal capacity to drive new investments, and equipping workers with the skills and training to manage a cleaner, safer environment. This research brief explores the need for such a resilient platform for growth by focusing on the role of local policymakers and practitioners to drive lasting infrastructure solutions that can benefit more places and people. It first defines climate resilience and the urgency for action, before examining how places (including cities, metropolitan areas, and other localities) must expand their planning efforts and fiscal capacities to accelerate resilient infrastructure improvements. It concludes by highlighting how residents and workers may play a central part in these local efforts.

Source: Brookings Institute

This report uses price data for highway construction projects across the contiguous United States from 2005 through 2017. The data set includes approximately 5,000 unique items for each project. These items are distilled to form 60 item baskets. The report re-defines output from being lane-miles to ‘lane-miles of service.’ The indicator of quality is the deterioration rate of a roadway, which is measured using data on pavement roughness which links to deterioration and the time between required servicing; an improvement in quality reduces deterioration and increases the time span between maintenance and reconstruction, something which adds significant value to state budgets. The report uses a chained-Fisher price index and finds that the proposed, quality-adjusted producer price index exhibits lower annual growth by 2.0% compared to the unadjusted price index. Given price inflation has been overestimated in the past by failing to account for quality changes, findings suggests the lack of productivity growth in construction, specifically highways, bridges and infrastructure, may have been significantly underestimated.

Source: Brookings Institute

Health and Human Services

This report describes select measures of health among former cigarette smokers aged 65 and over. Among adults aged 65 and over, 49.4% of men and 30.6% of women were former cigarette smokers. Almost one-fourth of former smokers smoked for 40 years or more. Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, former smokers reported higher levels of fair or poor health, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and four or more chronic conditions compared with never smokers and similar levels of fair or poor health, four or more chronic conditions, and limitations in social participation compared with current smokers. Former smokers had higher levels of fair or poor health, COPD, four or more chronic conditions, and social participation limitations as their years of smoking increased. Smoking cessation has been shown to be beneficial at any age. However, even after quitting smoking, the length of time a person smoked is reflected in current health measures among people aged 65 and over.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This brief compares 2017 to 2018 changes in insurance coverage across three national surveys: The American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and National Health Interview Survey. Between 2017 and 2018, the American Community Survey and Current Population Survey showed increasing uninsurance among nonelderly Americans and losses of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, while the National Health Interview Survey showed no statistically significant changes in coverage. Additionally, the American Community Survey showed increasing employer coverage and declining private non-group coverage between 2017 and 2018, while the other two surveys showed no statistically significant change in employer or private non-group coverage.

Source: Urban Institute

Co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health disorders are common among post-9/11 veterans, but treatment facilities typically specialize in treating one type of disorder or the other. Mental health treatment facilities often require veterans to abstain from substance use, but veterans may be using substances to manage their mental health symptoms. Veterans who receive substance use treatment alone may be at risk for failing to meet their treatment goals if their mental health symptoms are not addressed. Integrated, evidence-based approaches that address both substance use disorders and mental health disorders concurrently and provide ongoing support for recovery can improve outcomes for this population, but it is critical that veterans are able to access programs and facilities that are equipped to treat the veteran population.

Source: RAND Corporation

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