ISSUE 155 | May 4, 2022
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Local spending on jails increasing despite lower crime rates 
Jail costs rose 521 percent from 1977 to 2017.

In Pennsylvania, these costs accounted for 37percent of all correctional facility expenses in 2017.

Falling crime and jail admissions did not create any savings, however; instead, smaller jail populations in relatively small localities experienced increased expenses. 

PA municipal code limits local governments’ opportunities to raise funds
Local tax rates are capped in Pennsylvania, and there are limited alternative revenue options.

Property taxes are the primary sources of revenue, along with sales and earned income taxes.

These challenges indicate that revisions to the municipal code are needed and that communities can benefit by pooling tax dollars to fund county-level districts or even consolidate to lower operating costs.

U.S. News & World Report ranks NEPA high schools
The U.S. News & World Report ranks schools on college readiness, state assessment performance and proficiency, underserved student performance, college curriculum offered, and graduation rate.

Lackawanna County’s Abington Heights and Luzerne County’s Dallas were rated first and second in the region (respectively).

They ranked at 1,363 and 3,406 (respectively) among approximately 24,000 high schools across the nation.

Indicators Spotlight!
The 2022 Indicators Forum is right around the corner! Don't forget to register for this hybrid event to learn about the latest trends in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
A novel resource may reduce negative impacts of the benefits cliff
Employers are often unaware of the benefits cliff and may elevate salaries that make employees lose benefits, but which aren’t enough to fill the gap created by the benefit loss.

This in turn destabilizes economic well-being for workers and their households.

An employer awareness campaign regarding the benefits cliff, coupled with a new calculator tool, can mitigate the problem.  
Policies recommended for reducing recidivism and heightening public safety
In 2020, 1.8 million Americans were incarcerated and one in 66 were on parole.

Furthermore, parole violations are very common, costly, and fail to ensure public safety or rectify social issues in the long term.

Pew Research and Arnold Ventures released a framework for policy reforms to reduce recidivism and incarceration resulting from technical revocations, while facilitating employment and mobility. 

NJ recovery support program offers assistance during and after incarceration 
A program at New Jersey’s Somerset County Jail provides inmates with access to medication for Opioid Use Disorder.

This assistance, along with counseling support, is also available to recently-released individuals in order to combat recidivism.

Approximately 80 percent of the participants remain in treatment upon release. 

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