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Two million people with mental illness are booked into jails every year, preventing them from receiving treatment and creating a burden on prisons. Experts say communities like Victoria, Texas should start mental health courts, which address a defendant’s underlying illness rather than punish them for crime. The model seems to be working in neighboring Midland.

Victoria Advocate

Jessica Priest

April 8, 2017

Victoria, Texas, United States

Benebikira 'Sister Listeners' offer informal counseling to both victims and perpetrators of the violence during the Rwanda genocide, seeking to forge a bridge of understanding. Their roles as listeners are especially important during the anniversary of the genocide.

Global Sisters Report

Melanie Lidman

April 6, 2017

Rwanda

Despite comprising a third of the population, poor and minority students are drastically underrepresented in gifted education programs across the nation, even if their academic performance is on-par with their white peers. Federal Way Public Academy in Washington has re-examined its methods for finding academically talented kids and is changing the numbers.

The Seattle Times

Claudia Rowe

April 2, 2017

Federal Way, Washington, United States

Voter turnout is a problem around the world, especially in local elections and among minority groups. But a small group of academics and activists in the US are experimenting with a new way to encourage people to turn up to vote: a lottery. Every voter is entered and one lucky winner gets a big cash prize, eliminating the risk of bribery and bought votes.

BBC

Kathleen Hawkins

February 26, 2017

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

To diversify the police force, UK and US research studies have focused on using behavioral economics. The UK's Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) has used behavioural economics and psychology to alter phrasing and messages, in order to attract more diverse applicants and its success has spurred more future projects.

Quartz

Kara Sherwin

February 20, 2017

United States

Young black Jacksonians are afraid to call the police in self defence for fear they will be accused of gang violence and arrested instead of protected. Various programs are using research of violence and recidivism to create programs that address the people most likely to commit violent crimes instead of just putting them in jail.

Jackson Free Press

Donna Ladd

February 15, 2017

Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Three Part Series, "America Beyond Detention": For decades, immigrant advocates have argued that the federal government should increase the use of residential shelters - like Casa Marianella in Austin - as an alternative to detention. The shelters are generally less expensive, treat immigrants more humanely, and are better equipped to integrate people into their new communities.

Texas Observer

Gus Bova

January 30, 2017

Austin, Texas, United States

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is developing a comprehensive strategy for affordable housing to help address the challenges of rising property prices and gentrification for the city's poor and minorities. The city is helping influence more inclusive growth patterns through financial incentives like the Barnes Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The Tennessean

David Plazas

January 29, 2017

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

The Morris district in Northern New Jersey has long championed diversity, even as its student body has changed and nearby schools remain deeply segregated. Each elementary school in the district draws from multiple neighborhoods, with a constant open zone at the center (where the poorest families live) where students are assigned to schools in order to maintain racial and economic diversity.

The New York Times

Kyle Spencer

December 12, 2016

Morristown, New Jersey, United States

Whitten Preparatory, a mostly black middle school, is one of four schools in Jackson that are trying to combat disciplinary issues and keep violence low by using peer mediation - training students to be mediators so they can help their classmates come to a peaceful resolution to their issues.

Jackson Free Press

Sierra Mannie

November 30, 2016

Jackson, Mississippi, United States

In 2016, the US had a historically large populist backlash against the political establishment. This inspired Hedric Smith to highlight where and how political reform in the US has succeeded or failed in an Orcas Current Lecture Series.

Reclaim the American Dream

Hedrick Smith

November 28, 2016

Eastsound, Washington, United States

The depiction of young black men in pop culture, music, arts and academia is overwhelmingly negative, and many of the young men internalise that narrative. To change the way the Oakland community views black men, the Office of African American Male Achievement hired more black male teachers to be positive role models both inside the classroom and out in the community.

Detroit Free Press

John Wisely

November 26, 2016

Oakland, California, United States

The US incarcerates 8x as many women as it did in 1980, and two-thirds of women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. A program in Tulsa, Women in Recovery, is working with women (and their children) to divert them from prison, combat addiction, and get access to services like education, coaching, housing, and work.

The New York Times

Nicholas Kristof

November 25, 2016

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Many minors, especially those who are black or hispanic, are tried and sentenced as adults. A new New Jersey law requires minors to at least begin their sentence in juvenile facilities, but there are still problems.

WNYC

Sarah Gonzalez

October 10, 2016

New Jersey, United States

In the United States, minors are often tried and sentenced as adults, leading to traumatizing circumstances and high recidivism. In Germany, minors cannot be tried as adults and are put in prisons that double as farms, aiming to mirror the outside world.

WNYC

Sarah Gonzalez

October 10, 2016

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany

In 2011, the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI), an education advocacy and research organization, launched the Colorado Legacy Schools project. The program funded innovative ways to increase the number and diversity of students taking AP classes. Instead of applying for funds to train teachers and subsidize test fees, Paonia High teamed up with two nearby schools to more than triple their collective AP offerings. It’s a promising model for rural, resource-limited schools trying to bring more college-prep opportunities to their few students.

High Country News

Kate Schimel

October 10, 2016

Paonia, Colorado, United States

The Migrant Education Program, which offers educational and social services to migrant worker families in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, is growing in popularity among the valley’s migrant worker population, and has recently begun to focus on getting migrant students geared up for college .

High Country News

Lyndsey Gilpin

October 9, 2016

Center, Colorado, United States

Somali-Minnesotans feel that US counter terrorism programs are suspicious of them and thus not their to help. A growing number of Somali-Americans have been recruited by public programs to improve relations between Minnesota’s Somali community and government agencies.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Faiza Mahamud

October 8, 2016

Minnesota, United States

Somali-Minnesotans are at risk for homegrown extremists but are suspicious of federal investigations in their community. A federal pilot project is using outreach programs to include the Somali community in the solution to reduce violent extremism.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Stephen Montemayer

September 17, 2016

Minnesota, United States

No consistent funding is designated to aid children of inmates though they are more prone to behavioral problems, low self-esteem and substance abuse. Project What, in S.F., empowers youth of incarcerated parents by hiring them to educate the public about their needs.

San Francisco Chronicle

Jill Tucker

September 16, 2016

San Francisco, California, United States

Reunity Resources is a Santa Fe-based company that has stepped into the national arena in which many cities are contemplating what to do with the enormous problem of food waste. Some 40% of the food supply goes uneaten in the U.S. annually. Ellen Berkovitch researched this story as part of KSFR’s Solutions Journalism Network grant initiative.

KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio

ELLEN BERKOVITCH

August 31, 2016

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Native American Reservation often have to fight legal battles for access to clean water, but state and federal agencies often exclude tribal members from the decision making because them deem them unqualified without science degrees. So the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe placed a premium on its members getting environmental science degrees and helped write the latest fish consumption guidelines.

Environmental Health News

Brian Bienkowski

August 23, 2016

Crow Reservation, Montana, United States

A nonprofit, KaJoog, runs an after-school STEM program directed towards Somali Youth intended to improve these immigrants’ future.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Eric Roper

August 17, 2016

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Alternative programming that involves "restorative justice" models - such as having youth within the criminal justice system create art as a means of self expression instead of detaining them in a prison-like facility - are much more effective at preventing antisocial and criminal behavior in youth than involvement in the juvenile-justice system.

Jackson Free Press

Arielle Dreher

August 17, 2016

Jackson, Mississippi, United States

The gang-driven violence in Honduras has caused thousands to migrate to the United States. In the last three years, with the emergency international aid from the United States, Honduras has experienced a 62 percent drop in homicides and has witnessed a decrease in the number of migrants entering the United States. The aid has gone towards community improvement projects and outreach centers, such as providing items for soccer games and other activities that dissuade gangsters from fighting each other.

The New York Times

Sonia Nazario

August 11, 2016

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

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