When we consider the vast sums that governments spend — and the responsibility public officials bear — it seems crazy that policy makers don’t routinely make good use of evidence. The new White House effort to base spending decisions on hard evidence is a step toward delivering more social good per taxpayer dollar.Read More
Millions of families of arrested individuals do not know what to do to help, how to obtain a lawyer, or what the process entails in the court system. Created by Albert Cobarrubius Justice Project, participatory defense is a type of community organizing that teaches and empowers people who face criminal charges. Individuals know how to work with attorneys in order to navigate the system and ultimately feel equipped to become drivers of their own change.Read More
When processing rape kits, it may be faster and more cost-effective to extract DNA profiles rather than first screen swabs and undergarments for semen. Ohio’s crime lab, which has identified a potential suspect in nearly 40 percent of recent cases, has made this and other changes to its procedures.Read More
The militarization of police forces in cases such as Ferguson, Missouri’s riots has led the state of Utah to question what can be done to prevent such an overuse of force from happening. Utah expanded upon a law passed by Democratic legislature in Maryland, which Utah’s ACLU reworked with some libertarians, to require the police to provide data about SWAT team usage. Utah’s success demonstrates that demilitarization bills passed with bipartisan support are not impossible.Read More
A Department of Justice study reported that about 75 percent of those released in 2005 were rearrested, and women prisoners often have a harder time re-entering society after release. A New Way of Life (ANWOL) is a Los Angeles transitional living facility that has helped more than 750 women stay out of prison by offering housing, case management, mental health and substance treatment, and job training.Read More
Rampant misconduct by judicial systems across the country brought to light a crippling practice of debtors' prisons—where disadvantaged individuals unable to pay fines and fees were continually and wrongfully imprisoned, creating a vicious cycle. The American Civil Liberties Union stepped in to work with governments and private companies to increase transparency, eliminate abuse, and reeducate law enforcement officials. The state of Ohio has emerged as a leader in reforming debtors' prisons, though there is still work to do.Read More
With more and more Americans having to pay medical costs out of pocket, a small company out of Philadelphia called ELAP is on the front lines of the war against escalating charges. By helping overwhelmed patients to de-mystify and negotiate medical bills, they are ensuring patients get the best value and avoid egregious financial distress.Read More
For most well-meaning donors, it can be difficult to calculate which charities are most effective with their funding - that is those that aim to solve the most serious problems, use interventions that work, employ cost-effective strategies, are competent and honest, and can make good use of each additional dollar. Organizations like GiveWell are part of a new and welcome trend toward rigorous evaluation of social change programs, and helps people best decide where to donate based on what causes matter to them most.Read More
Project ECHO - driven by a single doctor with a cause - pulled together a team of specialists to develop a model that combines technology with collaborative care and careful patient tracking to help cure for diseases spread to patients around the world through community healthcare agents, as opposed to only specialty centers. This kind of "disruptive innovation" is effectively working to demonopolize health care knowledge and access, and lends to a health system capable of meeting today’s soaring demands for care.Read More
Neighborhood Trust is a New York-based nonprofit offering financial advice to individuals experiencing economic hardships. Providing hands-on coaching, counselors are able to inform their clients about financial options they may have otherwise not known about like college financial aid or child care tax credits.Read More
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