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August 13, 2015 / Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

When money is low, poverty and prison can go hand-in-hand

The Daily WRAG will move to a 3 day/week schedule through Labor Day. Enjoy what’s left of summer!

For many Americans, the criminal justice system’s bail structure ensures that a great number of individuals in poverty will remain imprisoned – even when they are innocent – if they cannot access large sums of money to make bail. This dilemma often results in a vicious cycle that can be overwhelmingly difficult to escape. (NYT, 8/13)

The federal government doesn’t track the number of people locked up because they can’t make bail. What we do know is that at any given time, close to 450,000 people are in pretrial detention in the United States — a figure that includes both those denied bail and those unable to pay the bail that has been set. Even that figure fails to capture the churn of local incarceration: In a given year, city and county jails across the country admit between 11 million and 13 million people.


With national attention suddenly focused on the criminal-justice system, bail has been cited as an easy target for reformers. But ensuring that no one is held in jail based on poverty would, in many respects, necessitate a complete reordering of criminal justice. The open secret is that in most jurisdictions, bail is the grease that keeps the gears of the overburdened system turning. Faced with the prospect of going to jail for want of bail, many defendants accept plea deals instead, sometimes at their arraignments.

– Many schools across the country and in D.C. are moving toward a more personalized approach to learning, where students are able to utilize technology to progress at their own pace. As with any experimental method, however, there are some positives and some negatives to this trend. (GGW, 8/12)

– The District will soon be home to a new charter school for adults where students can earn a high school diploma rather than a GED. (WBJ 8/12)

5 Big Ideas That Don’t Work In Education (NPR, 8/13)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | New Guidelines Will Ensure Affordable Housing Programs Better Serve DC’s Homeless and Low-Income Families (DCFPI, 8/13)

PHILANTHROPY | OpinionWhy Every Philanthropist Should Be Active on Twitter (NPQ, 8/13)

ARTS/CULTURE | Opinion: America is home to thousands of interesting museums focused on important aspects of the nation’s culture and history. A former lawyer opens up about why he felt compelled to open the first and only museum that is solely focused on the United States’ history of slavery. (WaPo, 8/13)

SOCIAL PROFITS/WORKFORCE | Audio: How can social profit organizations work to foster greater leadership development. A professor on the topic discusses tips for what to do, and what not to do, to work toward encouraging better leaders. (Chronicle, 8/13)

Pick a number from 0-100 and see if you are smarter than everyone else.


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