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Trends and Patterns in Firearm Violence, 1993–2018

Incarcerated Women and Girls

Understanding Police Reliance on Private Data


Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: Fiscal Year 2020

One Year into the Pandemic, What Secondary Math Teachers Said About Challenges to Standards-Aligned Instruction and Skipping Content

Pandemic Learning: As Students Struggled to Learn, Teachers Reported Few Strategies as Particularly Helpful to Mitigate Learning Loss

Evidence That a Greater Presence of Latinx Faculty or Administrators Raises the Completion Rates of Various Cohorts of Community College Students


The Potential—and Pitfalls—of the Digitalization of America’s Food System

Early Predictive Indicators of Contractor Performance: A Data-Analytic Approach

Calling All Issuers: The Market for Debt Monitoring


Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Providers and Services Users in the United States, 2017–2018

Bringing Oral Health Home. An Implementation Evaluation of Heartland Alliance Health’s Shelter-Based Oral Health Outreach Program

Two Years into the Pandemic, Charitable Food Remains a Key Resource for One in Six Adults

May 20, 2022


The rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 persons age 12 or older declined 41% across the 26-year period of 1993 to 2018, from 8.4 to 5.0 homicides per 100,000. During the more recent 5 years from 2014 to 2018, this rate was between 4.0 and 5.2 homicides per 100,000 persons age 12 or older. The firearm homicide rate of 4.0 in 2014 was the lowest annual rate from 1993 to 2018. Firearm homicides include fatal injuries that involved a firearm and were inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill by any means. On average, 71% of all homicides were committed with a firearm from 1993 to 2018. In 2018, some 14,000 homicides were committed with a firearm. Firearm homicides include fatal injuries that involved a firearm and were inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill by any means. Homicide data in this report are primarily from mortality data in the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Fatal Injury Reports. These data are based on death certificates in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) of the National Center for Health Statistics.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women. This brief highlights data on the number of incarcerated women as well as female incarceration trends. The female incarcerated population in 2020 stands nearly five times higher than in 1980. Over half (58%) of imprisoned women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18. Additionally, in 2020, the imprisonment rate for Black women (65 per 100,000) was 1.7 times the rate of imprisonment for White women (38 per 100,000) and for Latinx women the rate of imprisonment was 1.3 times the rate of White women (48 vs. 38 per 100,000).

Source: The Sentencing Project

Law enforcement investigations have always depended on information from private actors, including victims, witnesses, and informants. But modern technology and big data have transformed this analog process into an automated, digital one. What was once a practice of targeted data collection has turned into bulk data gathering—GPS and cell-site location information, biometric databases, license plate locations, and more. This shift has elevated the role that private entities play in the investigative process. From the tech giants that transmit and store our communications and internet browsing history, to the data brokers that aggregate public records into detailed individual dossiers, private companies make decisions that can make or break criminal investigations. These choices include whether to oppose or accede to a government request for information, what data to collect, and how frequently it’s deleted. Over time, these private decisions have come to define many aspects of our rights and liberties. Many of these private influences have been fiercely criticized. These critiques range from lack of transparency and legal accountability for private actors, to their perverse financial incentives. Although there is merit to these concerns, blanket opposition to any role for private actors in the criminal system is not a sound policy-making approach. In this paper, the author suggests one way for policy makers to approach this task: focusing on the private entities with the closest relationship—contractual, financial, and otherwise—to law enforcement, for these entities have fewer incentives to guard against law enforcement overreach. This paper (1) examines the debate around privatization in the criminal system, arguing that private actors are not as uniformly problematic as the privatization debate would suggest; (2) examines law enforcement’s access to the private data market, arguing there can be benefits to law enforcement accessing sensitive data through private actors; and, (3) suggests that in order to realize these benefits and guard against harms, regulators should focus on private entities that have particularly close relationships with law enforcement.

Source: Social Science Research Network


Current expenditures per pupil on a national basis slightly increased by 0.7% to $13,489 between Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and FY 2020, following an increase of 2.2% between FY 2018 and FY 2019, after adjusting for inflation. Florida’s expenditures per pupil in FY 2020 were reported at $10,305. Increases in current expenditures per pupil from FY 2019 to FY 2020 were among the five highest in New Mexico (9.3%), Illinois (5.7%), Kansas (4.0%), Texas (3.7%), and Indiana (3.7%). The increase in expenditures per pupil in Florida over the same time period was 1.6%.

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

Although little is known about the quality of math instruction in different school settings during the 2020–2021 school year, evidence from national survey data collected throughout the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic suggests students' opportunity to learn (OTL) — defined in this report as time on instruction and content coverage — differed dramatically depending on whether students were learning in person or through an alternative mode of instruction. This report presents findings from the 2020 and 2021 Learn Together Surveys to highlight the challenges to standards-aligned instruction that secondary (grades 6 to 12) math teachers might have perceived one year into the pandemic, how frequently they skipped standards-aligned math content, and their reasons for doing so. These findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that students in fully remote and hybrid school settings had fewer opportunities to engage with grade-level math than students learning in person. Specifically, secondary math teachers who provided remote or hybrid instruction reported skipping standards-aligned content more frequently and were less likely to report being able to devote as much time as they would have liked to math instruction compared with their in-person counterparts. Nearly all secondary teachers who reported skipping standards-aligned content said they did so to review or reteach content from previous grade levels. These findings are particularly significant for students who attended schools that were less likely to offer in-person instruction during the 2020–2021 school year.

Source: RAND Corporation

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted learning for millions of students and educators across the U.S. during the 2020-21 school year. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) surveyed K-12 public school teachers nationwide and found that during the 2020-21 school year, students in all grade levels, whether learning in person or virtually, struggled with many obstacles. These ranged from lack of appropriate workspaces and adequate support to competing demands on their time, disengagement, and absences. Such obstacles hindered student learning, according to GAO's nationwide survey of K-12 public school teachers and discussion groups with teachers, principals, and parents. Teachers used many strategies to mitigate learning loss. They reported that two strategies in particular helped at least half their students make academic progress: live instruction and technology apps or platforms. Specifically, 85% of teachers who taught students fully or partially in person indicated that live instruction helped many of their students. In contrast, 56% of teachers who taught students virtually all or part of the time indicated that live virtual instruction (i.e., synchronous learning) helped many of their students. Regarding technology, nearly two-thirds of teachers who used apps or platforms for students to submit their assignments and to provide feedback thought it was helpful for many of their students. Teachers used many other strategies as well, but they were generally helpful to fewer students and used less often. One notable exception was asynchronous learning, in which students work independently without live instruction. This strategy was used regularly by 69% of teachers, yet fewer than 40% thought it helped at least half of their students.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

Only a quarter of full-time U.S. students complete their desired goal from community college attendance, with the rate of success even lower for Latinx students. This panel-data regression study looks for evidence regarding the expected influence of increasing the presence of Latinx faculty or administrators on cohort completion rates for all students, only Latinx students, and sub-samples of these two cohort types divided further by economic advantage or college preparation. The authors found that a one-percentage-point increase in Latinx faculty among full-time instructors or a similar increase in Latinx representation among administrators positively influences nearly all cohort completion rates.

Source: Educational Policy Journal

Government Operations

Food is a critical good in the American economy. Although the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically restructured food consumption patterns and triggered a 17% drop in food expenditures, the U.S. food service and food retailing industries still sold $1.69 trillion worth of food in 2020. It took 19.7 million workers—10.3% of all U.S. jobs—to grow, process, move, and sell this huge variety of food products. And consuming all those products remains a major part of household budgets: In 2020, food expenditures accounted for 8.6% of the average consumer’s disposable income, and 27% among low-income Americans. Like many other parts of the U.S. economy, e-commerce is now rapidly transforming the food system. The pandemic-fueled rise of digital platforms has brought online ordering and rapid last-mile delivery services to consumers around the country, changing how Americans shop for food in the digital age. Unlike any time in human history, food can now meet people where they are—not the other way around. Based on a detailed analysis, the authors found that digital food delivery services reached 93% of America’s population, including 90% of the population living in traditionally defined food deserts. Data from SNAP’s Online Purchasing Pilot also confirms the surging demand for and use of digital food services. However, digital food access is only useful if households have a fixed or mobile broadband connection, a compatible device, digital literacy skills, awareness of the option, and the available income to purchase food this way. Similarly, there are unaddressed gaps in digital food delivery access in many small towns and rural areas. While digitalization can unlock efficiencies in powerful ways, it also has the potential to amplify injustices already present in our digital and food systems. As the digital food system matures, now is the time to design policies that harness digitalization for the public good.

Source: Brookings Institution

Getting early indication of potential contractor performance risks and contract execution issues is critical for proactive acquisition management. When contractors are in danger of not meeting contractual performance goals, U.S. Department of the Air Force acquisition management may not be fully aware of the shortfall until, for example, a schedule deadline is missed, government testing indicates poor system's technical performance, or costs exceed expectations. Concerns continue to be raised about cost and schedule growth in acquisition and experts postulate about a lack of knowledge about the status of acquisition programs. In this report, the authors focus on metrics to identify emerging execution problems earlier than traditional acquisition oversight systems to enable more-proactive risk and performance management. They summarize their findings, which include a taxonomy of contractor relative risks, leading indicators of performance, relevant data sources, risk measures and equations, and a prototype that implements some of these findings using real data sources. Key findings include how the use of automated tools can help ingest, aggregate, and analyze data that can focus managers’ limited resources on early indicators of performance issues, data that are important for assessing relative contractor risks that are very difficult to obtain, and a taxonomy of potential risk measures beyond those traditionally examined in program management.

Source: RAND Corporation

A substantial fraction of local governments refinance their long-term debt with significant delays – resulting in sizable losses. Using data from 2001 to 2018, the authors estimate that U.S. municipals lost over $31 billion from this delayed refinancing, whereas the entire U.S. corporate sector, facing the same low interest-rate environment, lost only a comparatively modest $1.4 billion. The authors present evidence that these delays are related to gaps in localized debt monitoring. For instance, when a bond’s call option unlocks in a month that is the fiscal year-end of a local government – a particularly busy time for finance departments – the decision to call is delayed significantly longer. A significantly longer delay also occurs when a municipality is faced with a wave of calls all due at once. These effects are magnified in smaller municipalities, with fewer finance staff. In addition, the market for outside monitoring (e.g., underwriters), is a fractured one. It is characterized by extreme stickiness: 87% of a municipality’s bonds are issued with the same underwriter over the sample period. Moreover, the usage of a less locally-focused underwriter is associated with significantly greater delays.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Health and Human Services

In 2018, about 69,000 paid, regulated post-acute and long-term care services providers among seven major sectors included in this report served more than 9.5 million people in the United States. Sectors differed by ownership and chain status, and supply varied by region. Post-acute and long-term care services users varied by sector in their demographic and health characteristics and functional status. Most home health agencies, hospices, nursing homes, residential care communities, and long-term care hospitals were for-profit, while a minority of adult day services centers and inpatient rehabilitation facilities were for-profit. Most nursing homes and residential care communities were chain-affiliated, in contrast to adult day services centers, the minority of which were chain-affiliated. The average social work staffing level was higher in residential care communities than in adult day services centers and nursing homes, and the average activities staffing level in adult day services centers was more than in nursing homes and residential care communities.

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

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Heartland Alliance Health (HAH), a 52-member hospital network providing service throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, aligned with multiple residential sites serving people experiencing homelessness and people with substance use disorders to expand access to oral health services for their residents through site-based outreach. The HAH Shelter-Based Oral Health pilot program aims to improve the oral health of individuals experiencing homelessness and increase access to oral health services and other services addressing social determinants of health. The pilot program aims to do this by establishing stronger partnerships with residential sites and providing on-site dental services. The long-term goals of the program are to increase knowledge for medical providers to successfully implement and deliver on-site oral health care and continue developing strategic alignment between Heartland Alliance Health and residential sites. Recognizing the importance of program implementation in effective service delivery, the evaluation of the Oral Health Service followed the World Health Organization's Implementation Framework. The findings from this study prompt several recommendations to improve the provision of oral health care to people experiencing homelessness and people with substance use disorder. These include: Funders should increase support for oral health services for people experiencing homelessness, increase consistency in the delivery of its outreach service, aim to simplify the scheduling process, consider involving additional types of dental staff to increase engagement and the breadth of services available, explore ways to improve its processes for screening for and addressing social determinants of health, consider ways to conduct oral health outreach to younger people experiencing homelessness, and researchers should explore ways to reduce dental anxiety.

Source: Heartland Alliance

Despite federal stopgap policies and a substantial charitable food response to mitigate the effects of food insecurity during the pandemic, hunger remains a reality for many across the US. In this brief, the authors analyze data from the December 2021, 2020, and 2019 rounds of the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative survey of more than 8,000 adults ages 18 to 64, to examine trends in free-grocery or free-meal use. The authors found the following: Nonelderly adults’ reported household use of charitable food in the past 12 months decreased by about 10% between December 2020 and December 2021. However, rates of charitable food use remain significantly elevated above prepandemic rates. Black and Hispanic/Latinx adults were almost three times more likely than white adults to report accessing charitable food during 2021 and saw no significant decline in use between 2020 and 2021. Adults experiencing food insecurity, especially very low food security (the most severe form), reported high levels of charitable food use. Families with children show a continued need for charitable food services, especially as access to school meals was tenuous during school closures and quarantine periods. Adults who are noncitizens or who live with noncitizen relatives were twice as likely to seek charitable food assistance in 2021 as adults living in households with all citizens. Among low-income adults who reported not using charitable food in 2021, more than half did not know of a community resource for charitable food, and about half reported they were not at all or not too comfortable seeking assistance if they had a need. Additionally, three in five adults experiencing food insecurity who did not receive charitable food in 2021 said they did not know of a community resource, and three in five were not comfortable seeking assistance.

Source: Urban Institute

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