Pretrial release and detention decisions for defendants are increasingly guided by risk assessments guided by data, which are intended to counteract biases but have the potential to introduce new biases and perpetuate racial disparities. This research brief describes the approach taken by MDRC to understand, assess, and address these biases.
Findings from the Subprime Lending Data Exploration Project
Medical debt was a main theme emerging from a survey and interviews with individuals who use payday or subprime installment loans. Many respondents reported using such loans to pay medical bills or to cover regular expenses that may have originated from a health-related emergency.
Lessons from the BIAS Project
The Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project launched an intervention in California to engage families in a welfare-to-work program and another intervention in New York to encourage low-income single adults without dependent children to attend a meeting about an earnings supplement program intended to provide an incentive to work.
An Alternative to Bail
Defendants awaiting trial and unable to post bail are often detained in local jails unnecessarily, disrupting their lives and adding to costs for taxpayers. To address this situation, New York City has launched a program that gives judges the option to release some defendants to community-based supervision.
Year 1 of Paycheck Plus
The Paycheck Plus demonstration is testing the effects of a more generous Earned Income Tax Credit-like earnings supplement for low-income single adults in New York City. This brief describes the implementation of the program during the first year and supplement receipt rates during the 2015 tax season.
A New Antipoverty Strategy for Single Adults
This 12-page brief describes a pathbreaking demonstration project testing an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income single adults without dependent children in New York City. Paycheck Plus aims to improve participants’ economic well-being while promoting employment and other positive outcomes.
Testing a New Approach to Increase Employment Advancement for Low-Skilled Adults
This policy brief discusses a new skills-building model designed to help low-income adults prepare for, enter, and succeed in quality jobs, in high-demand fields with opportunities for career growth. WorkAdvance uses strategies found in sector-based employment programs, combined with career coaching after participants are placed into jobs.
Preliminary Implementation Findings from the SaveUSA Evaluation
SaveUSA, a pilot program in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa, offers a matched savings account to low-income tax filers, building on the opportunity presented by tax-time refunds, especially the Earned Income Tax Credit. This 12-page brief offers early implementation findings.
Lessons for Practitioners
This 12-page brief distills practical implementation lessons from four programs that help low-wage workers access and retain child care subsidies, public health insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and other related government benefits.