ISSUE 181 | November 2, 2022

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Pennsylvania prison receives inspiration from Scandinavia 

U.S. incarceration rates are high, and the nation’s prisons face an array of problems.

These conditions catalyze discussions surrounding reform strategies, which include guidance from correctional systems in Scandinavian countries.

A project at SCI Chester will reveal insight into the Scandinavian model’s impact on inmates as well as correctional officers.

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Local veterans granted access to new resources 


The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act was passed in August 2022.

The legislation allows for research funding, along with outreach and treatment for veterans who were impacted by various harmful toxins overseas.

Proposals in the future will reference a call center specifically to help enrolled veterans.

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Mental health issues rampant in Pennsylvania prisons

Spotlight PA and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism distributed a survey to 20 PA jails with approximately 13,000 individuals incarcerated.

The instrument addressed the increase of individuals who need adequate mental health services, lack of medical staff to help inmates in crisis, and the intricate system of accessing state resources.

Responses were recorded from wardens, medical professionals, and other prison officials.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

Infrastructure improvements promote equity for people with disabilities

People with disabilities have long been overlooked during mobility planning.

Contiguous sidewalks, curb cutouts, crosswalks, and traffic calming measures in neighborhoods and commercial areas can reduce wheelchair deaths and promote independence across the country.

Disability advocates are pushing for consideration of safety measures in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law. 

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Some cities are eliminating minimum parking requirements in development


Elimination of minimum parking requirements facilitate compact, climate-friendly community development that reduces housing shortages and improves safety and affordability for those living and working without vehicles.

This, of course, requires that transit planning evolve with residential and commercial development.

States like California may prohibit local governments from imposing parking requirements on development projects located with half-mile of public transit options.

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Los Angeles City Council works to preserve affordable housing


When the owner of an apartment building was preparing to raise rental fees to an extent that would displace residents, the local council voted to buy.

The city may use eminent domain to require the owner to sell.

The building may then be incorporated into the housing authority or a community land trust. 

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