Trends in Youth Arrests for Violent Crimes

Meeting the Evolving Challenges of Fentanyl and Other Emerging Drugs of Abuse: Innovative Strategies for Improving Analysis

The Miseducation of Carceral Reform


Reading and Mathematics Scores Decline During COVID-19 Pandemic

Stratified Trajectories: Charting Equity Gaps in Program Pathways Among Community College Students

Effects of Reclassifying English Learner Students on Student Achievement in New Mexico


Language Use in the United States: 2019

The Military Demographic Equity Support Tool: A Tool for Helping Decisionmakers Address Disparities in Career Success

Tracking the Robust Recovery in the Business Sector Since 2020


Addressing Burnout in the Behavioral Health Workforce through Organizational Strategies

Responding to Disability Onset in the Late Working Years: What do Older Workers do?

If You Build it, Will They Vaccinate? The Impact of COVID-19 Vaccine Sites on Vaccination Rates and Outcomes

September 9, 2022


This trend report provides data for youth arrests involving violent crime since 2010, and notes changes in trends since the 1990s and 1980s. The estimated number of youth arrests for violent crime, which includes murder, robbery, and aggravated assault, has declined since the mid-2000s. By 2020, the number of violent crime arrests involving youth reached a new low, 78% below the 1994 peak, and half the number 10 years prior. Overall, 8% of youth arrests involved a violent crime. Males accounted for 80% of all youth arrests for violent crimes in 2020, but their share of murder (92%) and robbery (88%) arrests was much greater. Youth ages 16–17 accounted for more than half (55%) of all youth arrests for violent crime, but accounted for three-fourths of all youth arrests for murder. White youth accounted for nearly half (49%) of all youth arrests for violent crime, and 57% of youth arrests for aggravated assault.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

With the influx of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and other emerging drugs of abuse (commonly referred to as novel psychoactive substances) into forensic casework over the last several years, laboratories are working on innovative solutions to the challenges of narcotics analysis. Labs are increasingly tasked with processing more complex samples, including those containing more highly toxic chemicals. Current screening methods, such as color tests (which indicate presence/absence of a particular drug class) and gas chromatography with flame ionization (GC-FID, which measures substances in gas steam), are becoming less effective due to the greater complexity of submitted samples. These issues translate into growing burdens on labs, who are already facing mounting backlogs. The U.S. National Institute of Justice-funded researchers from the Maryland State Police analyzed the current drug evidence analysis caseflow and evaluated whether a re-envisioned workflow employing direct analysis real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) could lead to increased safety, speed, sensitivity, and selectivity in controlled substance analysis. DART-MS drug analysis is more information-rich, more sensitive, less hindered by cutting agents, and better able to distinguish between similar chemical structures than color tests and GC-FID. Results indicated that DART-MS improved safety, speed, sensitivity, and selectivity over traditional colorimetric tests and GC-FID analyses. A targeted method for confirmation using gas chromatography allowed for a more rapid analysis with a higher sensitivity by providing analysts with a more information-rich screening tool.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice

Public education looms large in criminal law reform. As states debate what to invest in – other than criminal law enforcement – to provide safety and security to the public, public schools have emerged as a popular answer. Today, legislatures move money from prisons to public education, arguing that this reinvestment can address the root causes of mass incarceration. This article analyzes this reinvestment trend from the perspective of public schools. It takes seriously the possibility that diverting money from incarceration to public education can help address the root causes of mass incarceration and it argues that realizing this possibility requires a more expansive approach to reinvestment than is demonstrated in current legal reforms. This expansive approach to reinvestment situates the provision of education within a constellation of interconnected needs, increases power over diverted funds for those who have historically been excluded from educational decisions, and confronts the underlying race, class, and gender resentments used to justify asymmetrical spending on incarceration and public education. By analyzing reinvestment approaches to carceral reform from the perspective of public schools, this article underscores the contested nature of the reinvestment movement. It maps both the restrictive and transformative directions carceral reinvestment can take, and it points to several promising efforts such as interweaving education with other supports to address poverty and inequality that make use of a more transformative approach to reconfigure the relationship between public welfare and the carceral state.

Source: Social Science Research Network


In 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics conducted a special administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend reading and mathematics assessments for age 9 students to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics. Of the 70% of 9-year-olds who learned remotely during the 2020–21 school year, higher performers (those at or above the 75th percentile) had greater access to a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet all the time; a quiet place to work available some of the time; and a teacher available to help them with mathematics or reading schoolwork every day or almost every day compared to lower performers (those below the 25th percentile).

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

A primary focus among colleges implementing student success reforms has been to increase overall rates of credential completion and to reduce racial and socioeconomic equity gaps in completion rates. The focus on general completion may overlook inequities in the type of program students complete, which is particularly significant given the wide variety of credentials offered at community colleges—from short-term certificates to transfer-oriented associate degrees that may lead to bachelor’s and graduate degree programs—and the resulting variation in labor market returns among completers. This study examines racial/ethnic stratification among community college students as they enter and progress through different programs leading to higher- and lower-paying jobs. The authors develop a discrete-time survival analysis using longitudinal enrollment and transcript data on first-time-in-college, credential-seeking community college students from a state with more than 20 community colleges. They track student enrollment, completion, and transfer for up to nine years and examine when equity gaps in completion emerge. Results suggest that a significant gap in the likelihood of bachelor’s degree completion between Black and White students emerges more episodically, while the gap between Hispanic and White students develops earlier and remains more consistent over time. Results also suggest that while all students generally benefit from the attainment of academic milestones, such as gaining credit momentum or completing pre-transfer associate degrees, doing so disproportionately benefits Black and Hispanic students.

Source: Research in Higher Education

This study examined how attaining English proficiency and being reclassified as fluent English proficient affected achievement in English language arts and math in the first year after student reclassification in grades 3–8 in New Mexico. State policy in New Mexico bases student reclassification decisions on whether students attain a minimum overall English language proficiency level score of 5.0 on the ACCESS for ELLs (ACCESS) assessment. The study focused on achievement among English learner students in 2014/15–2018/19, a time when the ACCESS underwent a standards setting process to better align its language proficiency scoring scale with the expectations of college- and career-ready standards. After the standards setting, a smaller percentage of English learner students in New Mexico attained English proficiency and were reclassified each year. At the same time, students who scored near the English proficiency level required for reclassification performed above the statewide average in English language arts and math and were more likely to meet state content proficiency standards. However, the study found no effects of reclassification on student achievement either before or after the ACCESS standards setting. In addition, the study found no effect of reclassification on next-year English language arts and math achievement among most groups of students with different characteristics and among most districts in the study. Leaders at the New Mexico Public Education Department could use the findings of this study to consider maintaining the current reclassification threshold. In addition, the state and its districts might want to identify opportunities to strengthen the supports provided to English learner students. This could begin by collecting more systematic information on the education services and supports that English learner students receive leading up to and after they attain English proficiency.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences


English is the most common language spoken at home in the United States, with 78% of the U.S. population speaking only English. Since 1980, the number of people speaking only English at home has increased steadily; however, there was a proportionally greater increase for the population speaking a language other than English. In 1890, the U.S. Census Bureau began asking its respondents about the languages they speak, and it has continued to do so until the present day (except for the 1950 Census, when the question was omitted). Some languages have shown remarkable growth since 1980, while others have declined. The largest numeric increase was for Spanish speakers (30.6 million more speakers in 2019 than in 1980). Chinese speakers had the second-largest numeric increase (2.9 million more speakers in 2019 than in 1980). Over the decade, from 2009 to 2019, the share of the U.S. population 5 years old and over speaking a language other than English at home grew from 20% to 22%, while the share of the U.S. population who spoke English less than “very well” decreased from 9% to 8%, indicating that English ability improved among those who spoke a language other than English. In other words, of the population that spoke a language other than English, the percentage who could speak English “very well” increased from 57% to 62% from 2009 to 2019. In southwestern states such as California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, and the eastern states of Florida, New Jersey, and New York, at least 30% of people 5 years and over spoke languages other than English. Florida is notable in that it experienced a 26% growth by adding about 1.3 million people who spoke a language other than English from 2010 to 2019, after starting with a large population of this group (4.9 million in 2010).

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau

Disparities in military career success and representation of women and minority groups persist despite attempts to rectify those disparities. To help inject better information into the U.S. Armed Forces' campaigns to address racial/ethnic and gender disparities, the authors present a decision support tool concept and prototype, the Military Demographic Equity Machine (MDEM), which, if developed further, could assist human resources decisionmakers by offering them a better understanding of various policies' effects. The MDEM, which is based on the Bayesian network method, enables visualization of up-to-date racial, ethnic, and gender disparities across paygrades as well as examination of the effectiveness of potential mitigation strategies. The Military Demographic Equity Support Tool (MDEST), based on the MDEM, uses inputs and metrics that are easy to understand and explain while reflecting the cumulative impact across career stages, incorporates contributing factors in addition to race/ethnicity and gender in a way that points to the root causes of disparities, presents results that reflect the current state of personnel policy in each area of the career life cycle, and incorporates new information as it becomes available. The MDEST concept demonstration and initial results show some promise for its viability as a tool for senior human resource management leaders to use in assessing and planning programs and policies that aim to promote greater equity in the military personnel system. The authors note that a version of this tool, validated for accuracy and designed with end-user testing, could greatly improve planners’ understanding of the personnel environment and make it easier to communicate at different levels concerning the real-time state of the system and ongoing efforts to improve it.

Source: RAND Corporation

This analysis of the business sector over the COVID-19 period finds that, despite initial fears of widespread failure, existing businesses and new entrepreneurship have defied earlier expectations, ending 2021 with nearly 450,000 more establishments in operation than prior to the pandemic. Underneath these aggregate results, patterns across industries reveal evidence of considerable economic restructuring. A large share of new business creation has occurred in the industries most exposed to the pandemic downturn, primarily face-to-face services like restaurants. Other new business activity, such as online retail and data services, reflect new opportunities in the transition to a more remote environment. This report also traces the employment implications of this churn to uncover the impacts of initial employment losses and recent recovery across businesses of varying sizes. While questions remain around the contribution of these new dynamics to job creation and productivity, the persistence of these shifts and the resiliency of small businesses will play key roles in determining the path of the recovery moving forward.

Source: Brookings Institute


Burnout is a complex issue resulting from chronic workplace stress that encompasses exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Burnout has physical and emotional consequences for individuals and impacts their work with clients and within an organization. This guide first provides an overview of the current evidence on organization-level interventions to prevent and reduce burnout. The guide then highlights organization-level interventions to prevent and reduce burnout among behavioral health workers. The guide notes that to fully address burnout, organizations need to adopt strategies that improve their organizational culture and climate to modify the six drivers of burnout: workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values. Additionally, the guide provides examples of programs that use these strategies as well as guidance and resources for evaluating organization-level strategies to address burnout and monitor outcomes.

Source: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

This study uses occupational data from the Health and Retirement Study, a University of Michigan longitudinal panel study that surveys a representative sample of approximately 20,000 people in America, supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), to document the link between disability onset and occupational transitions among older adults who are working and do not report a disabling condition at age 55. The authors find that one-quarter of workers go on to experience new disabilities before full-retirement age. Relative to their peers who do not report disabilities, stopping work and significant occupational changes are more common among workers who experience new disabilities. The results suggest that policies to support labor force attachment might consider the importance of new disability onset and whether employer accommodations might help workers with new disabling conditions remain in the jobs they held when their health began to limit their work.

Source: Mathematica

Safe and effective vaccines have vastly reduced the lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, but disparities exist in vaccine take-up. Although the out-of-pocket price is set to zero in the U.S., time (information gathering, signing up, transportation and waiting) and misinformation costs still apply. To understand the extent to which geographic access impacts COVID-19 vaccination take-up rates and COVID-19 health outcomes, the authors leverage exogenous, pre-existing variation in locations of retail pharmacies participating the U.S. federal government’s vaccine distribution program through which over 40% of US vaccine doses were administered. The authors use unique data on nearly all COVID-19 vaccine administrations in 2021. The authors find that the presence of a participating retail pharmacy vaccination site in a county leads to an approximately 26% increase in the per-capita number of doses administered, possibly indicating that proximity and familiarity play a substantial role in vaccine take-up decisions. Increases in county-level per capita participating retail pharmacies lead to an increase in COVID-19 vaccination rates and a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, with substantial heterogeneity based on county rurality, political leanings, income, and race composition. The relationship the authors estimate suggests that averting one COVID-19 case, hospitalization, and death requires approximately 25, 200, and 1,500 county-level vaccine total doses, respectively. These results imply a 9,500% to 22,500% economic return on the full costs of COVID-19 vaccination. Overall, these findings add to understanding vaccine take-up decisions for the design of COVID era and other public health interventions.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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