Amplifying the Speakers: Identifying High-Priority Needs for Law Enforcement Public Information Officers

How Many People Are Spending Over a Decade in Prison?

Irrational Collateral Sanctions


Teacher Compensation Strategies

Which Students Are We Counting? A Descriptive Analysis of Student Characteristics and Data Availability of U.S. Territories and Commonwealths

Dynamic Capabilities and Governance: An Empirical Investigation of Financial Performance of the Higher Education Sector


Bank Supervision: Lessons Learned from Remote Supervision During Pandemic Could Inform Future Disruptions

Quality Jobs Are a Choice: Why We Need to Think About Job Design

What Do Employers Want to See from Soft-Skills Credentials?


Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021

Perspectives of Patients Receiving Telemedicine Services for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment: A Qualitative Analysis of User Experiences

September 16, 2022


The ability to communicate effectively with the public is critical to the success of law enforcement agencies. Especially as the public increasingly expects law enforcement to exhibit transparency and rapid responsiveness to community concerns, communications proficiency often has a significant impact on an agency's overall success. Public information officers (PIOs) and other staff with public communications responsibilities are often the focal point for this engagement with communities, and it is vital that agencies use them effectively. Despite the importance of law enforcement PIOs, their needs have received relatively little attention. To better understand the needs of law enforcement with respect to PIOs, RAND researchers and the Police Executive Research Forum convened a workshop to identify high-priority needs to improve the law enforcement PIO profession. Through a series of interviews and group discussion sessions, the researchers gathered input from various subject-matter experts, who identified and prioritized a total of 26 needs related to PIOs. Of these 26, nine needs were identified as high-priority. These high-priority needs addressed issues related to responding to civil unrest; gauging community sentiment; engaging in rapid communication; establishing the value of PIOs beyond information dissemination to the public; developing guidance on characteristics of effective PIOs; proactively addressing community issues; effectively addressing community criticism; and building professional development opportunities and training for public communications staff. This report lists these needs and provides additional context on the nine needs that participants ranked as the highest priority. The report also provides recommendation related to creating guidance, training, and information sharing for public communications and PIOs.

Source: RAND Corporation

Over 260,000 people in U.S. prisons had already been incarcerated for at least 10 years in 2019, comprising 19% of the prison population. Nearly three times as many people – over 770,000 – were serving sentences of 10 years or longer. This research brief presents state-level analysis revealing a common growing trend of lengthy sentences, as well as significant geographic variation. The 12 U.S. jurisdictions where two-thirds or more of the prison population are serving sentences of at least a decade are: Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Montana, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington, DC. In 2019, Black Americans represented 14% of the total U.S. population, 33% of the total prison population, and 46% of the prison population who had already served at least 10 years.

Source: The Sentencing Project

In the modern era, a criminal sentence is rarely truly over just because someone has served their time. Instead, both legal and social barriers continue to haunt most people who have been convicted of crimes for years. While social barriers like stigma are not always easy for lawyers and lawmakers to address, legal barriers like so-called collateral sanctions (also known as collateral consequences) are their bread-and-butter. Collateral consequences of criminal conviction are the additional civil state penalties, mandated by statute, that attach to a criminal conviction, but are not part of the direct consequences of criminal conviction such as prison fines or probation. These collateral consequences are mandatory or discretionary consequences that create barriers to achieving employment, housing, public benefits, and any number of other resources or opportunities a person might seek to help build a flourishing life. Divided into three parts, the author first presents an anonymized client story that illustrates many of the existing efforts to blunt the effects of collateral sanctions in Ohio. The next part discusses in more depth both the problem of collateral sanctions and both the challenges and opportunities posed by existing remedial efforts. Finally, the author discusses the opportunity for rational-basis challenges to irrational collateral sanctions when other remedial opportunities are unavailing.

Source: Social Science Research Network


Salaries are one of the most powerful policy levers states and school districts can use to attract qualified, effective, and diverse teachers. However, strategic pay remains underutilized as a tool to attract teachers to the schools or subjects that are traditionally harder to staff. Similarly, few states have policies that consider performance in salary schedules or reward prior relevant work experience in order to attract career switchers to the teaching profession. Most states (29), including Florida, leave it up to individual school districts to set their own salary schedules, but in 13 other states, the salary schedule is determined by state authority. In the remaining nine states, the state sets the minimum salary a teacher must earn. State policies on teacher salaries play an important role in district implementation. The state policy sets the framework for the local design of salary schedules that can help secure a high quality teacher workforce – or create barriers – and states can also provide funds for districts to use additional pay to offer incentives targeted to district needs. This report examines the state teacher compensation policies that influence districts' potential strategic use of teacher pay and identifies six considerations, such as funding types and policy evaluation, states should take into account when creating strategic pay policies.

Source: National Council on Teacher Quality

Some data are available on the 325,149 known students enrolled in public schools in U.S. territories and commonwealths – including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands – but there are significant amounts of missing and incomplete data for other territories and commonwealths, such as the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. The lack of widely available data means it is difficult to understand the conditions and quality of education in these areas. And without comprehensive data for every U.S. territory and commonwealth, policymakers and advocates cannot measure the magnitude of inequities and cannot directly help vulnerable students. Studying the populations of U.S. territories and commonwealths between 1991 and 2020, the authors found that there are 325,149 students were enrolled in 2020 in the five territories that have publicly available data: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marina Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While Guam and American Samoa have steady student enrollment, and the Northern Marina Islands’ enrollment has slightly increased and the Puerto Rican student population declined by more than half over 30 years. Additionally, the report found that English learner rates vary widely; Puerto Rico has an English learner rate of 1.7%, while the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa high shares of English learners (98.7 % and 90.3%, respectively).

Source: Urban Institute

Organizations are increasingly subject to conflicting demands imposed by their institutional environments. Given the importance of governance arrangements, the authors apply strategic management concepts to public universities and investigate the effect of external governance arrangements on university performance. Using more than a decade of data on U.S. public universities, the authors find that flexibility has much more impact when matched by lower levels of governance that allow greater expenditure autonomy for university executives and administrators. The authors show that universities that reallocate resources more regularly are more likely to run larger budget surpluses. Additionally, results indicate that this is far more likely to be true at universities where external governance arrangements allow greater executive discretion.

Source: Strategic Management Journal


Limitations on in-person meetings and travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges to federal banking regulators conducting on-site examinations of depository institutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal banking regulators couldn't examine most banks and credit unions in person. So, they changed certain examination practices, especially at smaller institutions. For example, they rescheduled examinations and reviewed scanned copies of loan files. This report examines how the federal banking regulators (1) identified and assessed risks and challenges the pandemic posed to their supervisory missions, (2) made changes to address these risks and challenges, and (3) assessed lessons learned from their pandemic responses. The report found that to manage pandemic-related challenges to their supervisory missions, banking regulators deferred examination activities, expanded off-site monitoring of institutions, adjusted telework policies, and provided technology tools and internal guidance to examiners. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recommends that the Federal Reserve develop and document steps and timeframes to include pandemic-related risks to supervision in its enterprise risk management framework and that Comptroller of the Currency review lessons learned from the pandemic to better prepare for future disruptions to examinations.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

Recent estimates show that about one-third of jobs pay less than $15 an hour. Many of these jobs are associated with other job quality issues such as unpredictable schedules and a lack of opportunities for advancement. Low-quality jobs such as these are not inevitable, and neither are high-quality jobs that provide good compensation, the opportunity to advance and grow, and a workplace that promotes dignity and equity. Low-quality and high-quality jobs are the result of a variety of choices that are made in designing jobs. This issue brief reviews the history and current state of job design, highlights the benefits workers and businesses receive when jobs are designed with worker well-being in mind, and notes emerging issues and practices in job design related to technology, work-based learning, and employee ownership.

Source: Aspen Institute

Soft skills (also known as non-cognitive, employability, baseline, or twenty-first-century skills) are the capabilities and habits that affect social-emotional abilities related to communication, social interactions, and problem-solving. Credentials in soft skills – earned by passing formal assessments tied to academic courses and usually represented by a digital certificate or badge – aim to demonstrate to employers that job applicants are proficient in these skills, helping them stand out in the hiring process. One example can be found in the New World of Work’s 10 soft skill badges. These microcredential programs exist to provide learners with new ways to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to employers less expensively and faster than traditional degree programs. The authors conducted a series of interviews with employers to gauge how they perceive the value and authority of soft-skills credentials and to learn what could increase their utility and credibility. The authors identified three key findings: employers value credentials from reputable, familiar organizations; credentials tied to work experience are considered more reliable; and employers prize transparency in the process used to grant credentials.

Source: MDRC


The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) collects and disseminates the nation’s official vital statistics through the National Vital Statistics System. The NCHS uses provisional vital statistics data for conducting public health surveillance and final data for producing annual national natality and mortality statistics and publishes annual and decennial national life tables based on final vital statistics data. To assess the effects of excess mortality related to the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy, NCHS published the first ever provisional life expectancy estimates for the year 2020. Life expectancy estimates presented in this report are based on provisional mortality data for 2021 and final data for 2019 and 2020. Provisional data are early estimates based on death certificates received, processed, and coded but not finalized by NCHS.. The report found that excess deaths due to COVID-19 and other causes in 2020 and 2021 led to an overall decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2021 of 2.7 years for the total population, 3.1 years for males, and 2.3 years for females. In 2021, life expectancy at birth was 76.1 years, declining by 0.9 year from 77.0 in 2020. Life expectancy at birth for males in 2021 was 73.2 years, representing a decline of 1.0 year from 74.2 years in 2020. For females, life expectancy declined to 79.1 years, decreasing 0.8 year from 79.9 years in 2020.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Vital Statistics Syste

Telemedicine for opioid use disorder (tele-OUD) has the potential to increase access to medications for opioid use disorder. Fully virtual tele-OUD services, in which all care is provided via telemedicine, are increasingly common, yet few studies document the experiences of patients who use such services. Understanding patient perspectives is one of multiple considerations to inform the regulation and reimbursement of tele-OUD services. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 adults receiving care from one fully virtual tele-OUD service who had received 3 to 5 weeks of treatment. Results showed that more than three quarters of patients with past experience receiving in-person medications for opioid use disorder treatment described tele-OUD as more advantageous with its key strength being more patient centered. Additionally, patients said they felt tele-OUD helped to ameliorate social barriers to seeking treatment, and nearly all said they appreciated the speed at which they were able to initiate medications for opioid use disorder treatment via tele-OUD.

Source: Journal of Addiction Medicine

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