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Child Support and Reentry

Federal Deaths in Custody and During Arrest, 2018–2019 – Statistical Tables

Sex Offender Registration in a Pandemic


Updated Online Data Tools in DataLab

Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2019-20 Private School Universe Survey

Policy Design Principles for Connecting Education to Work


Climate Resilience: Options to Enhance the Resilience of Federally Funded Roads and Reduce Fiscal Exposure

Strength in Numbers: A Guide to the 2020 Census Redistricting Data From the U.S. Census Bureau

The Growing Exposure of Air Force Installations to Natural Disasters


Barriers That Constrain the Adequacy of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Allotments: In-depth Interview Findings

Measuring Medicaid Service Utilization among Dual Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees Using Fee-for-Service and Encounter Claims

Post-Traumatic Stress in California's Workers' Compensation System: A Study of Mental Health Presumptions for Firefighters and Peace Officers Under California Senate Bill 542

October 1, 2021


This paper focuses on what social scientists and policy analysts have learned about how child support, criminal justice, and reentry are related: How do child support obligations affect reintegration? How does incarceration affect child support repayment and debt? What policies exacerbate the debt-recidivism link? Which policies show promise in ameliorating it? From this body of research, several broad findings have emerged: (1) The reentry goals of parents with child support debt are similar to those of other reentering groups: stable employment, familial reintegration, and desistance from crime. (2) One of the biggest obstacles to reentry is the size of a parent’s child support debt, which averages $20,000 to $36,000, depending on the state and the data used. (3) There are several institutional barriers that complicate parents’ economic security and familial wellbeing — challenges to formal sector employment, familial conflict, and cycles of recidivism. Child support debt also acts as its own barrier, particularly if support and arrears payments are set too high for parents to manage. (4) Several state and federal policies exacerbate the reentry challenges of parents with child support debt. (5) Some state and federal policies have been shown to alleviate the reentry challenges of parents with support debt. To the extent that policies provide coordinated assistance with support modification, reduce government owed debt, and tailor arrears to fit the economic realities of parents’ lives, they support reentry and family reintegration.

Source: National Institute of Justice

This report is the second in a series that examines deaths that occur during federal arrest, detention, and incarceration in the United States. It describes decedent, incident, and facility characteristics of deaths in federal custody and during arrest by federal law enforcement agencies during Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. Federal law enforcement agencies reported 53 arrest-related deaths and 448 deaths in custody in Fiscal Year 2018 and 68 arrest-related deaths and 449 deaths in custody in Fiscal Year 2019. During Fiscal Year 2018-2019, homicides accounted for more than half (56%) of arrest-related deaths, and suicides made up about one-fifth (22%). About 93% of arrest-related decedents were male, 75% were white, and 78% were ages 25 to 54. In about half of arrest-related deaths during Fiscal Year 2018-19, decedents attempted to injure law enforcement officers (50%) or discharged a firearm (45%). Almost all persons who died in custody were male (97%), about two-thirds were white (65%), and more than one-quarter were black (28%) or age 65 or older (30%). The most serious offenses most commonly reported for persons who died in custody during Fiscal Year 2018-19 were drug violations (34%), followed by sex offenses (18%).

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

This report addresses whether, and how, state and local governments maintained their requirement that individuals convicted of sex offenses meet with authorities in person to confirm and update their registry information. Focusing in particular on the first months of 2020, the report highlights the distinctiveness of registration: while many governmental operations were suspended, or went online, in-person registration very often persisted. Registration requires that sex offenders provide government authorities personal background and identifying information, verify it at regular intervals, possibly four times a year, and provide updates in the event of any change (e.g., growing a beard or changing work or school location). Most often, verifications and updates must take place in-person at a designated place such as a police station, with failure to comply usually resulting in a felony conviction. Governments provide the information to community members in the hope that they will take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from possible sexual victimization by registrants. As states and localities undertook aggressive measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, in-person registration continued in most states. A few states—Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Hawaii—temporarily suspended in-person registration, using instead registration by telephonic or electronic means. Virginia suspended in-person registration and allowed for use of the internet. The report explores the reasons accounting for this distinctiveness and provides some thoughts on how and why in-person registration persisted in the early stages of the pandemic when so many other governmental operations were suspended or significantly modified.

Source: Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released a new, updated version of DataLab, a platform of web-based tools that provide the public with access to data collected through NCES studies. DataLab is designed for researchers, reporters, policy makers, school administrators, students, or anyone interested in education in the United States. The Tables Library application is an online repository of over 8,000 data tables published by NCES that users can search to answer critical questions about education across the nation. The data includes information on pre-college experiences, cost of higher education attendance, student financial aid and employment, and student characteristics and experiences. The PowerStats application provides access to over 100 NCES datasets and, through an interactive online interface, empowers users to generate custom statistical analyses and data visualizations.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

This report provides selected findings from the 2019–20 Private School Universe Survey regarding private schools that were in operation during the 2019-20 school year. The data include information on school size, school level, religious orientation, association membership, geographic region, community type, and program emphasis. The survey collects non-fiscal data biennially from the universe of private schools in the United States with grades kindergarten through twelve. In the fall of 2019, there were 30,492 private elementary and secondary schools with 4,652,904 students and 481,200 full-time-equivalent teachers in the United States. Sixty-six percent of private schools, enrolling 76% of private school students and employing 68% of private school teachers in 2019–20, had a religious orientation or purpose. The largest number of private school students in 2019–20 were enrolled in schools located in cities (2,057,808), followed by those in suburban schools (1,819,082), rural areas (506,957), and then by those in towns (269,057). Forty-one percent of all private schools in 2019–20 enrolled less than 50 students. In 2019–20, there were 350,000 or more students enrolled in private schools in California, Florida, and New York.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

State policymakers recognize the economic imperative to ensure that education and training are connected to good jobs. Employers are seeking — and are often struggling — to hire appropriately skilled workers. For job seekers, the path to a good job with education beyond a high school diploma is certainly clearer than one without postsecondary education or training; however, with continually advancing technologies and employer expectations, individuals also need periodic access to additional training to upskill and reskill throughout their careers. As a result, there is both need and demand for on- and off-ramps to postsecondary education and training. This more fluid interplay requires a cultural shift so that leaders think differently about the design of education and training programs and craft policies that support more seamless transitions for individuals moving through and between education and work. This paper develops and refines four principles of policy design for connecting education to work including (1) design policy to support the diverse needs of people engaging or re-engaging with work-relevant education; (2) formalize collaboration at the state, local and regional levels to align postsecondary credential outcomes with labor market needs; (3) develop data infrastructure and capacity to produce timely, transparent and actionable data analysis for education and workforce stakeholders; and (4) leverage existing funding streams to support shared policy goals.

Source: Education Commission of the States

Government Operations

During the last decade, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) undertook targeted efforts to encourage states to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads, such as by developing agency policy, providing technical assistance, and funding resilience research. The authors identified projects in four states (Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington) that planned or made resilience enhancements using FHWA's resources. For example, Maryland used FHWA resources to raise a bridge by about 2 feet to account for projected sea level rise. Such efforts show the potential to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads on a wider scale. The authors identified 10 options to further enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads through a comprehensive literature search and interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders. Options include to update design standards and building codes to account for climate resistance and to expand the availability of discretionary funding for climate resilience improvements. Each option has strengths and limitations. For example, adding climate resilience requirements to formula grant programs could compel action but complicate states' efforts to use federal funds.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

The data collected by the decennial census are used to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funds to states, counties, and local communities. Those funds are spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works, and many other vital programs. The purpose of the 2020 Census was to conduct a census of population and housing and disseminate the results to the president, the states, and the American people. The goal of the 2020 Census was to count every person living in the United States once, only once, and in the right place, regardless of citizenship status. This brochure explains where census numbers come from, and the role those numbers play in the way states and communities redraw boundaries of their congressional and legislative districts.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Recent natural disasters have underscored the vulnerability of Air Force installations to natural hazards. In 2018, Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) experienced a direct hit from Hurricane Michael, causing $4 billion worth of damage. Flooding at Offutt AFB in 2019 damaged buildings, runways, and other assets. A wildfire near Vandenburg AFB delayed a scheduled rocket launch and endangered two space launch pads. These incidents have prompted the Department of the Air Force (DAF) to examine how to improve AFB resilience to natural hazards. To reduce the exposure of these installations to the threat of disasters, the DAF asked RAND's Project AIR FORCE to assess base-level exposure to flooding, wildfires, and high winds and identify potential mitigation options. The analysis combined geospatial and other asset-level information with national hazard data for each base. The approach demonstrates how an enterprise-wide view of installation exposure to natural hazards can inform a variety of policy decisions.

Source: RAND Corporation

Health and Human Services

In 2012, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service sponsored a study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to examine the feasibility of establishing an objective, evidence-based means of defining the adequacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit. The SNAP benefit provides monthly benefits on an Electronic Benefit Transfer card to eligible, low-income households, which they can redeem for eligible foods. The IOM and National Research Council committee report (2013) concluded that the adequacy of SNAP allotments can be objectively defined and recommended that Food and Nutrition Service assess the individual, household, and the environmental factors that limit the adequacy of the SNAP allotment. This study builds on the past research and the work of the IOM (IOM is now known as the Health and Medicine Division), to bear on the critical question of the adequacy of the SNAP benefit. It includes both in-depth interviews with 121 SNAP participants drawn from 12 States and a nationally representative survey of SNAP participants. This report presents the findings from the in-depth interviews with SNAP participants and ethnographies of participants’ kitchens. Building on previous literature, this study finds that SNAP households encounter five main individual/household barriers: lack of knowledge about healthy eating, lack of cooking skills, lack of kitchen equipment and facilities, lack of time for cooking, and lack of time to acquire foods for a healthy diet. None of the individual/household barriers were found in a large proportion of the sample, with lack of time for cooking found as the most common individual barrier at 15% of the sample (n= 18), followed by lack of knowledge about healthy eating (12% of the sample, n= 14, lack of kitchen equipment (11%, n= 13), time to acquire foods for a healthy diet (7%, n= 9), and lack of cooking skills (7%, n= 8). Among environmental barriers, defined as those outside an individual’s direct control, almost a third of the sample faced a lack of affordable foods that are part of a healthy diet.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

In this data quality report, the authors investigate the capacity of the 2018 Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System Analytic Files (TAF) to measure medical services among people dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. The authors examine services for which Medicaid is the primary payer among dual enrollees: long-term services and supports, including personal care, nonemergency transportation, and other home- and community-based services (HCBS); behavioral health care; and nursing home care. Overall, the findings suggest the data fields necessary to identify services commonly used by dual enrollees and paid for by Medicaid are of good quality. However, the report identifies several states with likely data quality problems based on individual data elements with missing or invalid values or implausibly low levels of implied utilization for specific services. Among these data quality problems, the authors identify five states, Florida, Nebraska, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Hawaii, that have relatively high rates of missing or invalid type-of-service codes among Long Term Care file claim lines, ranging from 21% to 98.6%. This raises concerns regarding the TAF’s ability to accurately measure nursing home services in these states.

Source: Urban Institute

In 2019, California enacted Senate Bill (SB) 542, which created a rebuttable presumption that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in firefighters and peace officers is a work-related injury and thus compensable under workers' compensation. California has long used presumptions to facilitate workers' compensation claims for many other occupational health conditions in first responders, including cancer, heart trouble, and hernia. SB 542 is intended to encourage care-seeking among first responders and reduce the stigma associated with filing a workers' compensation claim for a mental health condition. The presumption is in effect for injuries occurring between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2024. The authors of this report evaluate the prevalence of mental health conditions and illnesses among firefighters and peace officers and discuss the implications that this evidence has for policy regarding presumptions established by SB 542. Using a mixed-methods approach, the authors also investigate the frequency of workers' compensation claims involving PTSD, how often these claims are denied, and how first responders experiencing PTSD access mental health care. First responders' mental health and experiences in the workers' compensation system are compared with those of workers in other trauma-exposed occupations. Claims involving PTSD are compared with claims involving other health conditions — such as cancer, heart trouble, and hernias — that are also presumed to be work-related in first responders under California law. The report also contains estimates of the costs to state and local government that might result from presumptive coverage of PTSD in the workers' compensation system, and the authors also discuss stakeholder perspectives on SB 542. Findings include that mental distress and suicidality are not more prevalent among California's first responders than among workers in other occupations who are exposed to trauma on the job. Firefighters and peace officers also face barriers to care-seeking — primarily, mental health stigma, fear of professional consequences, and lack of access to culturally competent mental health providers who understand the realities and exceptional demands of their work.

Source: RAND Corporation

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