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Capital Punishment, 2018 - Statistical Tables

Understanding Police Enforcement: A Multicity 911 Analysis

Victimization Rates and Traits of Sexual and Gender Minorities in the United States: Results from the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2017

Individual and Geographic Variation in Driver’s License Suspensions: Evidence of Disparities by Race, Ethnicity and Income


New Data Measuring High School to Postsecondary Transitions by State and Year

This is Not a Test, This is an Emergency: Special Considerations for Assessing and Advancing Equity in School-Year 2020-21

Persistence and Convergence: The End of Kindergarten Outcomes of Pre-K Graduates and Their Nonattending Peers

2020 Survey of Admissions Leaders: A Mess of a Year

Keep It Simple: Streamlining Book Illustrations Improves Attention and Comprehension in Beginning Readers


How Can Cities Create More Equitable Transportation Systems?

The Challenge of Decarbonizing Heavy Transport

Voices from the Field: Engaging Employers to Connect Young Adults to Good Fit Employment


Child Care Facilities: Federal Agencies Need to Enhance Monitoring and Collaboration to Help Assure Drinking Water is Safe from Lead

Children’s Uninsured Rate Rises by Largest Annual Jump in More Than a Decade

Using Natural Language Processing to Code Patient Experience Narratives

A Randomized Trial of Permanent Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless Persons with High Use of Publicly Funded Services

October 16, 2020


This report presents information on persons under sentence of death on December 31, 2018 and persons executed in 2018. Tables show state-by-state statistics on the movement of prisoners sentenced to death during 2018, the status of capital statutes, and methods of execution. Data include offender characteristics, such as sex, race, ethnicity, criminal history, and time between the imposition of a death sentence and execution. At year-end 2018, a total of 30 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons held 2,628 prisoners under sentence of death, which was 75 (3%) fewer than at year-end 2017. Eight states executed a total of 25 prisoners in 2018, with Texas accounting for more than half (13) of the executions. California (28%), Florida (13%), and Texas (8%) held about half of the prisoners under death sentences in the United States at year-end 2018. The largest declines in the number of prisoners under death sentences in 2018 were in Pennsylvania and Texas (down 11 prisoners each), followed by Washington (down 8) and then Alabama, Florida, California, and Nevada (down 6 each).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics

With more than 240 million 911 calls each year, a sizable proportion of police officers’ time consists of responding to calls for service. Despite the importance of the 911 call system, little information exists on the nature of calls for service, how they are handled, and how police respond. The Vera Institute of Justice partnered with two police departments (Camden, New Jersey and Tucson, Arizona) to study this crucial component of the policing system. Researchers employed a five-pronged mixed methods approach: reviewing the literature on 911 calls for service; mapping the 911 call system process and analyzing 911 call audio records; analyzing computer-aided dispatch (CAD) data; applying Natural Language Processing techniques to assess narrative fields in CAD data; and analyzing linked CAD and record management system data. By combining these five research components, Vera sought to identify alternatives to traditional 911 call-processing practices that could potentially improve outcomes for community members, call-takers, dispatchers, and police officers. The most frequent incident type was noncriminal in nature; with the most frequent incident type some variation of a complaint or request for an officer to perform a welfare check. In addition, the most common priority types were nonemergency. These findings suggest the need for future research and local conversations about whether certain types of 911 calls for service require responses by police. There are critical gaps in knowledge regarding the underlying needs, causes, and consequences for these resource intensive calls for service that do not involve a crime.

Source: Vera Institute of Justice

Do sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) in the United States encounter disproportionate rates of victimization as compared with their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts? Answering this question has proved elusive because nationally representative victimization data have not included victims’ sexual orientation or gender identity. The National Crime Victimization Survey, the nation’s primary source of representative information on criminal victimization, began documenting sexual orientation and gender identity in 2016 and released data publicly for the first time in 2019. The authors find SGMs disproportionately are victims across a variety of crimes. The rate of violent victimization for SGMs is 71.1 victimizations per 1,000 people compared with 19.2 victimizations per 1,000 people for those who are not SGMs. Sexual and gender minorities are 2.7 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime than non-SGMs. These findings raise the importance of further considering sexual orientation and gender identity in victimization and interventions.

Source: Science Advances

Although access to a motor vehicle is essential for pursuing social and economic opportunity and ensuring health and well-being, states have increasingly used driver’s license suspensions as a means of compelling compliance with a variety of laws and regulations unrelated to driving, including failure to pay a fine or appear in court. Little known about the population of suspended drivers and what geographic resources may be available to them to help mitigate the impact of a suspension. Using data from the New Jersey Safety Health Outcomes (NJ-SHO) data warehouse 2004–2018, the authors compared characteristics of suspended drivers, their residential census tract, as well as access to public transportation and jobs, by reason for the suspension (driving or non-driving related). In addition, they examined trends in the incidence and prevalence of driving and non-driving-related suspensions by sub-type over time. The authors found that the vast majority (91%) of license suspensions were for non-driving-related events, with the most common reason for a suspension being failure to pay a fine. Compared to drivers with a driving-related suspension or no suspension, non-driving-related suspended drivers lived in census tracts with a lower household median income, higher proportion of black and Hispanic residents and higher unemployment rates, but also better walkability scores and better access to public transportation and jobs. This study contributes to a growing literature that shows, despite public perception that they are meant to address traffic safety, the majority of suspensions are for non-driving related events. Further, these non-driving-related suspensions are most common in low-income communities and communities with a high-proportion of black and Hispanic residents. Although non-driving-related suspensions are also concentrated in communities with better access to public transportation and nearby jobs, additional work is needed to determine what effect this has for the social and economic well-being of suspended drivers.

Source: Journal of Transport and Health


Transitions from high school to college are challenging for many students, but key for long-term success. Thus, they are a major focus of education policy and research. However, systematically measuring how students progress from high school to college can be difficult, largely because it requires linking data from disparate K–12 and postsecondary systems. Currently, there is no central source of data on whether high school graduates are enrolling, persisting, and completing postsecondary education by the state of the high school they attended. In partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, Mathematica embarked on an effort to use existing data to produce timely measures of high school to postsecondary transitions by year and state of high school attended. The resulting measures produced include college enrollment, persistence, and completion rates for the 2002 to 2019 cohorts of high school graduates in all 50 states. In Florida, the overall college enrollment rate (students who enter college by age 19) has ranged between 92% (for the 2002 cohort) to 75% (for the 2019 cohort).

Source: Mathematica

State policymakers are confronting well-documented intersecting crises – medical, economic, and racial – with especially dire implications for educational equity. State education leaders face a moral urgency to both understand and respond to the challenges students are experiencing and to do so in ways that address burgeoning equity gaps. Education assessment can play a crucial role in identifying these learning and related challenges, allowing policy leaders to direct resources to where the needs are the greatest. It will be incredibly challenging, however, to collect, interpret, and use high-quality state standardized test data this school year. This brief recognizes this conundrum and offers recommendations for state leaders regarding assessment in 2020-21 including: 1) Separate assessment from accountability. There are serious threats to producing valid data to support accountability decisions this year. Changes to accountability systems will require a waiver to state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans and possibly change in state law or regulation. 2) Plan now! State standardized tests operate on a long planning and quality-control-cycle, therefore, the time to act is now. Planning must begin almost immediately. Waiting until January or February will be too late to adapt testing systems to best understand and act on opportunity gaps and learning progress. Plans should also account for various contingencies, particularly due to remote and hybrid schooling, and allow for adjustment as conditions change. 3) Collect Opportunity-to-Learn information. States must design a system for collecting data to document and understand students’ access to the resources, tools, and experiences they need to learn.

Source: Aspen Institute

The present investigation considers the differences in school readiness skills across the kindergarten year between a group of pre-K attenders and non-attenders who came from low-income and ethnically and linguistically diverse homes (n= 2,581). As part of this effort, the authors also consider the degree to which the benefits of pre-K diminish by the end of kindergarten (i.e., convergence) and the extent to which this convergence is a result of children without prior pre-K experience making ground (i.e., catch-up) or children with prior pre-K experience losing ground (i.e., fadeout). Results revealed that pre-K graduates outperformed non-attenders in the areas of achievement and executive functioning skills at the end of kindergarten, and also that the benefits of pre-K at the start of the year diminished by a little more than half. This convergence between groups’ performance was largest for more constrained skills, such as letter-word identification, and was attributed to the fact that non-attenders made greater gains in kindergarten as compared with graduates of pre-K. Importantly, convergence in the groups’ performance in kindergarten was not attributed to pre-K children’s classroom experiences in kindergarten. Convergence was, however, attributable to preexisting individual differences, and there was support for the notion that even though children’s skills are susceptible to improvement as a result of pre-K, their longer-term outcomes are likely to be impacted by factors that are outside the scope of early schooling.

Source: American Psychological Association

This year, fear and anxiety regarding college admissions spread throughout higher education, according to the 2020 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Admissions Officials, conducted by Gallup between August 6 and 30, 2020. The survey of 433 senior admissions officials (only one per institution) found: 1) A record number were very concerned about filling their classes; 2) A majority (also a record) not only did not fill their classes by May 1 (the traditional deadline) but did not fill their classes by July 1; 3) A significant minority of private colleges said they were taking advantage of rules changes made by the National Association for College Admission Counseling to recruit students; 4) Most colleges expect enrollment to decrease this year; 5) A majority of those that went test optional or test blind during the pandemic do not expect to ever restore a standardized testing requirement in admissions; and 6) Private college officials were much more likely than their public counterparts to say they played a key role in deciding what the college would do this fall, with regard to campus openings.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

This study used eye-tracking to examine whether extraneous illustration details—a common design in beginning reader storybooks—promote attentional competition and hinder learning. The study used a within-subject design with first- and second-grade children. Children (n = 60) read a story in a commercially available Standard condition and in a Streamlined condition, in which extraneous illustrations were removed while an eye-tracker recorded children’s gaze shifts away from the text, fixations to extraneous illustrations, and fixations to relevant illustrations. Extraneous illustrations promoted attentional competition and hindered reading comprehension: children made more gaze shifts away from text in the Standard compared to the Streamlined condition, and reading comprehension was significantly higher in the Streamlined condition compared to the Standard condition. Importantly, fixations toward extraneous details accounted for the unique variance in reading comprehension controlling for reading proficiency and attending to relevant illustrations. Furthermore, a follow-up control experiment (n = 60) revealed that these effects did not solely stem from enhanced text saliency in the Streamlined condition and reproduced the finding of a negative relationship between fixations to extraneous details and reading comprehension. This study provides evidence that the design of reading materials can be optimized to promote literacy development in young children.

Source: Nature Partner Journals | Science of Learning

Government Operations

All Americans need some form of transportation to access employment, education, health care, and other services. But not everyone has equal access to high-quality, reliable, and safe transportation. To understand the barriers to transportation and to identify ways transportation systems can become more equitable, the authors studied four metropolitan regions (Seattle, Washington; Lansing, Michigan; Baltimore, Maryland; and Nashville, Tennessee), each a distinct type in its transportation infrastructure, sprawl, fiscal health, population growth, and housing costs. Through data analysis and interviews with community leaders, the authors found that these varied cities share common barriers to equity—and common solutions. Common solutions include metro regions defining transportation equity in partnership with historically excluded residents, transportation departments having dedicated funding sources to allow for equitable and innovative transportation decisions, and cities collecting data to track transportation equity and create tools to help them make transportation decisions with equity as a key consideration.

Source: Urban Institute

Many jurisdictions are focused on achieving very low or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, bringing a spotlight to the biggest challenges in decarbonization. The transportation sector is responsible for about one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and emissions are growing, even in the developed world where other emissions are generally flat. Liquid fuels made from oil dominate the sector; they are easy to transport and store, contain a great deal of energy for their weight and volume, and enable use of internal combustion engines. The degree of difficulty in decarbonizing transport varies across the sector. Electrification is relatively easy for smaller vehicles that travel shorter distances carrying lighter loads. For these vehicles, the added weight of a battery is less of a hindrance and the inherently simpler and more efficient electric motor and drivetrain (the system that delivers power from the motor to the wheels) make up for some of the weight penalty. However, the heavier forms of transportation are among the fastest growing, meaning that the nation must consider solutions for these more difficult vehicles as well. The challenge of decarbonizing these sectors and the technologies to overcome these challenges are global, but this paper focuses on policy options in the United States. Decarbonization of heavy transport lags behind other sectors, but spillover effects can help. For example, some advanced biofuel technologies produce a range of fuels, similar to making a range of fuels from crude oil. Today’s supply of bio-jet fuel comes from such processes, despite a lack of policy for jet fuel decarbonization. More synergies could emerge if carbon capture becomes a common way to decarbonize difficult stationary sources of greenhouse gases, like some industrial processes. Captured carbon dioxide (CO2) can be combined with hydrogen produced with renewable electricity to make liquid fuels. Technology exists to decarbonize the heavy transport sector, although many advanced technologies are expensive and not proven at scale. The challenge for policymakers will be keeping technology advances and policy in alignment as the technology advances.

Source: Brookings Institution

America’s youngest workers are facing the most dire employment prospects since the Great Depression. At the start of 2020, nearly five million young people ages 16-24 were neither enrolled in school nor working. Today, their unemployment crisis has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic. This disconnection, both before and after the arrival of COVID-19, has had an outsized impact on young workers of color. Across the country, workforce development and education providers are scrambling to meet the needs of these young people. Now more than ever, they need accurate information on available employment, including wages, health insurance, paid leave, scheduling, and safety, among other things. This report compiles insights from workforce professionals about the types of questions they ask employers. Two hundred and ten workforce professionals in Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia responded to a survey about the kinds of conversations they have with business representatives on topics related to workplace practices, environment, and equity and inclusion in the workplace. Although the survey that informed this publication was conducted before the pandemic, the questions are increasingly relevant and important today. The report finds that businesses are using employer engagement survey results to inform capacity-building strategies to help workforce professionals, especially those who are new to the field, develop an understanding of how and why having learning-focused engagement with employers is important. An objective of this work is to equip workforce professionals to build standing and confidence for deeper engagement with employers about their workplace environment, workplace practices, and employees’ experiences.

Source: Aspen Institute

Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Child Care provides states with resources and technical assistance to help determine if drinking water in child care facilities is safe from lead. However, the office does not require that drinking water be tested because there is no requirement to do so under the Office of Child Care-administered Child Care and Development Block Grant, a key federal funding source for states to subsidize child care. Nonetheless, some states require child care providers to test their drinking water for lead. Children who are exposed to lead can experience serious developmental delays. Many young children spend significant amounts of time in child care settings. The authors were asked to review efforts to address lead in drinking water at child care facilities. The authors reviewed relevant laws, regulations and documents, and conducted a generalizable survey of 762 Head Start centers. To obtain information on lead testing and remediation, the authors also visited or interviewed 11 child care providers and Head Start grantees in four states that were selected for geographic variation and the presence of state laws for lead in drinking water. HHS's Office of Head Start has performance standards that require grantees to provide safe drinking water to children, but Office of Head Start does not ensure grantees comply with them. For example, the Office of Head Start does not require grantees to test their water or document that it is safe from lead, nor does the Office of Head Start check grantees' compliance with this standard during monitoring reviews. According to an Office of Head Start official, the office limits the number of standards it monitors to more efficiently use its limited resources. However, without documentation, the Office of Head Start does not have reasonable assurance that Head Start grantees provide safe drinking water. In fact, an estimated 43% of Head Start centers had not tested their drinking water for lead in late 2018 or 2019, and 31% did not know whether they had tested, according to the authors’ nationwide survey. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded grants to help child care facilities test for lead in drinking water, but has not taken sufficient action to ensure its 2019 Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of Child Care and Office of Head Start, which encourages lead testing, is being executed. The authors make four recommendations including that Office of Head Start require grantees to document that water provided to children is safe from lead, and for EPA and HHS to improve their collaboration.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

After reaching a historic low of 4.7% in 2016, the child uninsured rate began to increase in 2017, and as of 2019 jumped back up to 5.7%. This increase of a full percentage point translates to approximately 726,000 more children. Much of the gain in coverage that children made as a consequence of the Affordable Care Act’s major coverage expansions implemented in 2014 has now been eliminated. The largest increase was observed between 2018 and 2019 when, despite a continued strong economy, the number of children without health insurance rose by 320,000. This increase in the number of uninsured children was the largest annual jump seen in more than a decade. Moreover, since this data was collected prior to the pandemic, the number of uninsured children is likely considerably higher in 2020, as families have lost their jobs and employer-sponsored insurance, though it is impossible to know yet by precisely how much. One-third of the total increase in the number of uninsured children from 2016 to 2019 live in Texas. The state saw by far the greatest coverage loss over the period with an estimated 243,000 more children living without health coverage. Florida has the next biggest loss, adding about 55,000 children to the uninsured count over the three-year period. Twenty-nine states experienced an adverse change for children from 2016 to 2019. The only state that bucked national trends and significantly reduced its number of uninsured children during this three-year time period was New York. These coverage losses were widespread across income, age, and race/ethnicity, but were largest among White and especially Latino children (who can be of any race).

Source: Georgetown University Health Policy Institute

Patient narratives about experiences with health care contain a wealth of information about what is important to patients. These narratives are valuable for both identifying strengths and weaknesses in health care and developing strategies for improvement. However, rigorous qualitative analysis of the extensive data contained in these narratives is a resource-intensive process, and one that can exceed the capabilities of human analysts. One potential solution to these challenges is natural language processing, which uses computer algorithms to extract structured meaning from unstructured natural language. Because natural language processing is a relatively new undertaking in the field of health care, the authors set out to demonstrate its feasibility for organizing and classifying these data in a way that can generate actionable information. In doing so, the authors focused on two steps that must be performed by a machine learning system designed to classify narratives into such codes as those typically applied by human coders (e.g., positive or negative statements regarding care coordination). These steps are (1) numerically representing the text data (in this case, entire narratives as they are provided by patients) and (2) classifying the data by codes based on that representation. The authors also compared four related approaches to deploying machine learning algorithms, identified potential pitfalls in the processing of data, and showed how natural language processing can be used to supplement and support human coding. The success of the fairly simple models described in this pilot study supports the promise of these approaches for analyzing patient narratives at larger scale and there is labor-saving potential in leveraging the strengths of both machine and human coders, potentially in creative ways. Perhaps the most obvious opportunity for additional investment is increasing the size of the data set on which to train the models, which the authors expect would improve performance. Efficiency may be gained by contracting model building to specialized companies.

Source: RAND Corporation

Homelessness is associated with high use of acute health care services, including emergency department and inpatient care. Among homeless individuals, a small group (referred to as “frequent users”) account for a large proportion of all acute service use. The purpose of this study was to examine whether randomization to permanent supportive housing (subsidized housing with closely linked, voluntary supportive services) versus usual care reduces the use of acute health care and other services among chronically homeless high users of county-funded services. Between 2015 and 2019, the authors assessed service use from Santa Clara County, California, administrative claims data for all county-funded health care, jail and shelter, and mortality. The authors enrolled 423 participants (199 intervention; 224 control). Eighty-six percent of those randomized to permanent supportive housing received housing compared with 36% in usual care. On average, the 169 individuals housed by the permanent supportive housing intervention have remained housed for 28.8 months (92.9% of the study follow-up period). The intervention decreased psychiatric emergency department visits and shelter use, and increased outpatient mental health care, but not medical emergency department visits or hospitalizations. Limitations included more than one-third of usual care participants received another form of subsidized housing, potentially biasing results to the null, and loss of power due to high death rates. Permanent supportive housing can house high-risk individuals and reduce emergent psychiatric services and shelter use. Reductions in hospitalizations may be more difficult to realize.

Source: Health Services Research

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