PolicyNotes Banner

IN THIS ISSUE:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities

Demographic Differences in Sentencing

Community and the Crime Decline: The Causal Effect of Local Nonprofits on Violent Crime


EDUCATION

Self-Regulated Strategy Development

The Importance of a Diverse Teaching Force


GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

OPPAGA Report: Use of Natural Gas Fuels to Operate Motor Vehicles Is Increasing in Florida

Autonomous Vehicle Safety Scenario Explorer

Gender Segregation in Training Programs and the Wage Gap


HEALTH AND
HUMAN SERVICES

Preventing Drug Abuse: Low Participation by Pharmacies and Other Entities as Voluntary Collectors of Unused Prescription Drugs

Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2017



November 17, 2017

Criminal_Justice
CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Proactive policing, as a strategic approach used by police agencies to prevent crime, is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. It developed from a crisis in confidence in policing that began to emerge in the 1960s because of social unrest, rising crime rates, and growing skepticism regarding the effectiveness of standard approaches to policing. In response, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, innovative police practices and policies that took a more proactive approach began to develop. This report uses the term “proactive policing” to refer to all policing strategies that have as one of their goals the prevention or reduction of crime and disorder and that are not reactive in terms of focusing primarily on uncovering ongoing crime or on investigating or responding to crimes once they have occurred.

Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

This report uses multivariate regression analyses to explore the relationships between demographic factors, such as race and gender, and sentencing outcomes. These analyses were aimed at determining whether there were demographic differences in sentencing outcomes that were statistically significant, and whether those findings changed during the periods studied. Findings indicate black male offenders continued to receive longer sentences than similarly situated white male offenders. Non-government sponsored departures and variances appear to contribute significantly to the difference in sentence length between black male and white male offenders. Violence in an offender’s criminal history does not appear to account for any of the demographic differences in sentencing. Black male offenders received sentences on average 20.4% longer than similarly situated White male offenders. Female offenders of all races received shorter sentences than white male offenders.

Source: United States Sentencing Commission

Largely overlooked in the explanation of the crime decline in the U.S. over the past 25 years is consideration of community residents and organizations. This research examines the role that local nonprofit organizations played in the national decline of violence from the 1990s to the 2010s. Using data from 264 cities spanning more than 20 years, the authors estimate that every 10 additional organizations focusing on crime and community life in a city with 100,000 residents leads to a 9% reduction in the murder rate, a 6% reduction in the violent crime rate, and a 4% reduction in the property crime rate.

Source: American Sociological Review

Education
EDUCATION

Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) is an intervention designed to improve students’ academic skills through a six-step process that teaches students specific academic strategies and self-regulation skills. The practice is especially appropriate for students with learning disabilities. The intervention begins with teacher direction and ends with students independently applying the strategy, such as planning and organizing ideas before writing an essay. The authors analyzed the results of 10 studies of SRSD and found that SRSD had potentially positive effects on writing achievement for students with a specific learning disability. There was insufficient evidence from the studies to determine the effectiveness of SRSD in mathematics instruction.

Source: Institution of Education Sciences

Research indicates that minority students do better contemporaneously in school – and likely in the long run as well – when they are exposed to teachers of their same race or ethnicity. For example, a disadvantaged black male’s exposure to at least one black teacher in elementary school reduces his probability of dropping out of high school by nearly 40%. As a consequence, the underrepresentation of minority teachers relative to the proportion of minority school-aged students could be having the effect of limiting minority students’ educational success. A major driver of this underrepresentation appears to be the striking differences in the likelihood that young adults from different demographic groups have attained a bachelor’s degree, generally a prerequisite to teach. Therefore, the author argues, a move to increase minority college attendance and completion could be the key to greater minority representation in the teaching force.

Source: Brookings Institution

Government Operations
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Natural gas fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas are increasingly being used to operate motor vehicles in Florida. From 2012 to 2016, Florida’s consumption of natural gas as a motor fuel increased 326% and the state is now 15th in the nation in the use of natural gas motor fuel. Most natural gas fuel suppliers and consumers expect the industry to grow, given favorable fuel prices. However, these stakeholders are concerned about the limited number of refueling stations in Florida and the cost to convert vehicles to operate on natural gas fuel. Florida does not currently tax natural gas fuels. Other states do tax these fuels; however, it is difficult to compare tax rates across states because states do not uniformly adopt national measurement standards. Some states, including Florida, offer incentives to consumers for the use of natural gas fuel. Florida offers businesses rebates to convert vehicles to natural gas or to purchase vehicles operating on natural gas. Incentives offered by other states include loans, reduced fees, and other benefits for operating natural gas fuel vehicles.

Source: OPPAGA

How safe should highly automated vehicles be before they are allowed on the roads for consumer use? The question is of importance to policymakers, the transportation industry, and the public. Answering it requires long-term thinking: how will the performance and adoption of automated vehicles change over time and how will choices made today shape the future of road safety? Making projections is fraught with complications because these forces are deeply uncertain. To help explore answers to the question, this tool lets users develop their own future scenarios and estimates the resulting fatalities against a future without automated vehicles.

Source: RAND Corporation

This issue brief demonstrates how women continue to be underrepresented in skilled-trade jobs and the barriers that women face in accessing these jobs through U.S. Department of Labor programs, such as Job Corps, which perpetuates the gender wage gap in America. The authors also offer suggestions that might facilitate greater opportunity for women to be exposed to, train for, and enter jobs in these fields.

Source: Mathematica Policy Research

Health and Human Services
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

In 2015, 3.8 million Americans reported misusing prescriptions in the prior month, and deaths from prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. Most people get these drugs from friends or relatives, so providing secure and convenient ways for people to dispose of their unused drugs could help. A 2010 federal law authorized pharmacies and other entities to voluntarily maintain a prescription drug disposal bin for the public. We found that 3% of entities eligible to collect drugs in this way volunteered to do so. Stakeholders reported that this is partly due to the cost of purchasing a bin and paying for the destruction of collected drugs.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

In the first 6 months of 2017, 28.8 million (9.0%) persons of all ages were uninsured at the time of interview – not significantly different from 2016, but 19.8 million fewer persons than in 2010. In the first 6 months of 2017, among adults aged 18–64, 12.5% were uninsured at the time of interview, 19.2% had public coverage, and 69.6% had private health insurance coverage. In the first 6 months of 2017, among children aged 0–17 years, 5.0% were uninsured, 42.6% had public coverage, and 54.0% had private health insurance coverage. Among adults aged 18–64, 69.6% (137.2 million) were covered by private health insurance plans at the time of interview in the first 6 months of 2017. This includes 4.5% (8.8 million) covered by private health insurance plans obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges. The percentage of persons under age 65 with private health insurance enrolled in a high-deductible health plan increased, from 39.4% in 2016 to 42.9% in the first 6 months of 2017.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics


N O T E :
An online subscription may be required to view some items.




GOVERNMENT PROGRAM SUMMARIES (GPS)
Government Program Summaries (GPS) is a free resource for legislators and the public that provides descriptive information on over 200 state government programs. To provide fiscal data, GPS links to Transparency Florida, the Legislature's website that includes continually updated information on the state's operating budget and daily expenditures by state agencies.

POLICYNOTES

A publication of the Florida Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis And Government Accountability

PolicyNotes, published every Friday, features reports, articles, and websites with timely information of interest to policymakers and researchers. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by third parties as reported in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect OPPAGA's views.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of PolicyNotes provided that this section is preserved on all copies.