Publications

Prisons and Mental Health: Violence, Organizational Support, and the Effects of Correctional Work
Lerman A, Harney J, Sadin M. Prisons and Mental Health: Violence, Organizational Support, and the Effects of Correctional Work. Criminal Justice and Behavior. September 2021. doi:10.1177/00938548211037718

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Abstract

Correctional workers have a high likelihood of exposure to violence in the workplace. However, empirical literature has largely neglected the mental health consequences of prison work, as well as the institutional factors that might mitigate or exacerbate these effects. To fill this gap, we employ original survey data on thousands of correctional officers to explore the effects of exposure to violence on the job. We find strong associations between violence and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide risk, as well as symptoms of depression, alcohol abuse, anxiety, and sleep disorder. Importantly, we also find a potentially protective role of institutional factors, such as the quality of perceived management and supervision. In line with the perceived organizational support (POS) model, our findings make clear that organizational support can moderate the deleterious effects of prison work.

Reducing Burnout and Resignations among Frontline Workers: A Field Experiment
Linos, Elizabeth and Ruffini, Krista and Wilcoxen, Stephanie, Reducing Burnout and Resignations among Frontline Workers: A Field Experiment (July 5, 2021). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3846860.

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Abstract

Government agencies around the world struggle to retain frontline workers, as high job demandsvand low job resources contribute to persistently high rates of employee burnout. Although four decades of research have documented the predictors and potential costs of frontline workervburnout, we have limited causal evidence on strategies that reduce it. In this article, we report on a multi-city field experiment (n=536) aimed at increasing perceived social support and affirming belonging among 911 dispatchers. We find that a six-week intervention that prompts dispatchers to share advice anonymously and asynchronously with their peers in other cities reduces burnout by 8 points (0.4 SD) and cuts resignations by more than half (3.6 percentage points) four months after the intervention ended. We provide supporting evidence that the intervention operates by increasing perceived social support and belonging in an online laboratory experiment (n=497). These findings suggest that low-cost belonging affirmation techniques can reduce frontline worker burnout and help agencies retain workers, saving a mid-sized city at least $400,000 in personnel costs.

The downside of downsizing: Persistence of racial disparities following state prison reform
Lerman AE, Mooney AC. The downside of downsizing: Persistence of racial disparities following state prison reform. Punishment & Society. April 2021. doi:10.1177/14624745211006039

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Abstract

Nationwide, prison populations have declined nearly 5% from their peak, and 16 states have seen double-digit declines. It is unclear, though, how decarceration has affected racial disparities. Using national data, we find substantial variation in state prison populations from 2005–2018, with increases in some states and declines in others. However, although declines in the overall state prison population were associated with declines for all groups, states with rising prison populations experienced slight upticks in prison rates among the white population, while rates among Black and Latinx populations declined. As a result, greater progress in overall decarceration within states did not translate to larger reductions in racial disparities. At the same time, we do not find evidence that a decline in prison populations is associated with a rise in jail incarceration for any racial/ethnic group. In additional exploratory analyses, we suggest that recent incarceration trends may be driven by changes in returns to prison for probation and parole violations, rather than commitments for new crimes. Our results make clear that while efforts to reverse mass incarceration have reduced the size of prison populations in some states, they have not yet made substantial progress in resolving the crisis of race in American criminal justice.

Pleading for Justice: Bullpen Therapy, Pre-Trial Detention, and Plea Bargains in American Courts
Lerman AE, Green AL, Dominguez P. Pleading for Justice: Bullpen Therapy, Pre-Trial Detention, and Plea Bargains in American Courts. Crime & Delinquency. March 2021. doi:10.1177/0011128721999339

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Abstract

What role do extra-legal factors play in whether defendants plead guilty to a criminal offense? In this study, we provide qualitative evidence that pretrial detention is a contributing factor in adjudication outcomes. Many of our subjects reported that the prospect of being held in unsanitary and unsafe jails was sufficient to induce their acceptance of a plea, even when they maintained their innocence. Others worried that being held pre-trial would have a negative impact on employment and family responsibilities, and so chose to plead. Our quantitative analyses bolster these self-reports: in a national sample, defendants held in custody pre-trial are significantly more likely to enter a guilty plea, all else equal. These findings have important implications for individual outcomes, but also for the accountability of the criminal justice system as a whole.

RCTs to Scale: Comprehensive Evidence from Two Nudge Units 
DellaVigna S., Linos E. 2021. RCTs to Scale: Comprehensive Evidence from Two Nudge Units Forthcoming in Econometrica.

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Abstract

Nudge interventions have quickly expanded from academic studies to larger implementation in so-called Nudge Units in governments. This provides an opportunity to compare interventions in research studies, versus at scale. We assemble a unique data set of 126 RCTs covering 23 million individuals, including all trials run by two of the largest Nudge Units in the United States. We compare these trials to a sample of nudge trials in academic journals from two recent meta-analyses. In the Academic Journals papers, the average impact of a nudge is very large—an 8.7 percentage point take-up effect, which is a 33.4% increase over the average control. In the Nudge Units sample, the average impact is still sizable and highly statistically significant, but smaller at 1.4 percentage points, an 8.0% increase. We document three dimensions which can account for the difference between these two estimates: (i) statistical power of the trials; (ii) characteristics of the interventions, such as topic area and behavioral channel; and (iii) selective publication. A meta-analysis model incorporating these dimensions indicates that selective publication in the Academic Journals sample, exacerbated by low statistical power, explains about 70 percent of the difference in effect sizes between the two samples. Different nudge characteristics account for most of the residual difference.

Can Nudges Increase Take-up of the EITC?: Evidence from Multiple Field Experiments
Linos E., Prohofsky, A., Ramesh, A., Rothstein, J., Unrath, M. 2021. Can Nudges Increase Take-up of the EITC? Evidence from Multiple Field ExperimentsForthcoming in American Economic Journal: Policy.

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Abstract

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) distributes more than $60 billion to over 20 million low-income families annually. Nevertheless, an estimated one-fifth of eligible households do not claim it. We ran six pre-registered, large-scale field experiments to test whether “nudges” could increase EITC take-up (N=1million). Despite varying the content, design, messenger, and mode of our messages, we find no evidence that they affected households’ likelihood of filing a tax return or claiming the credit. We conclude that even the most behaviorally informed low-touch outreach efforts cannot overcome the barriers faced by low-income households who do not file returns.

The Intersection of Work and Home Challenges Faced by Physician Mothers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Analysis
Halley, M.C., Mathews, K.S., Diamond, L.C., Linos, E., Sarkar, U., Mangurian, C., Sabry, H., Goyal, M.K., Olazo, K., Miller, E.G. Jagsi, R., Linos., E. 2021. The Intersection of Work and Home Challenges Faced by Physician Mothers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Analysis. Journal of Women’s Health, 30(4), 514-524.

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Abstract

Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has presented extreme challenges for health care workers. This study sought to characterize challenges faced by physician mothers, compare differences in challenges by home and work characteristics, and elicit specific needs and potential solutions.

Methods: We conducted a mixed-methods online survey of the Physician Moms Group (PMG) and PMG COVID19 Subgroup on Facebook from April 18th to 29th, 2020. We collected structured data on personal and professional characteristics and qualitative data on home and work concerns. We analyzed qualitative data thematically and used bivariate analyses to evaluate variation in themes by frontline status and children’s ages.

Results: We included 1,806 participants in analysis and identified 10 key themes. The most frequently identified need/solution was for Community and Government Support (n = 545, 47.1%). When comparing frontline and nonfrontline physicians, those on the frontline more frequently raised concerns about Personal Health and Safety (67.8% vs. 48.4%, p < 0.001), Organizational Communication and Relationships (31.8% vs. 23.8%, p < 0.001), and Family Health and Safety (27.2 vs. 16.6, p < 0.001), while nonfrontline physicians more frequently addressed Patient Care and Safety (56.4% vs. 48.2%, p < 0.001) and Financial/Job Security (33.8% vs. 46.9%, p < 0.001). Participants with an elementary school-aged child more frequently raised concerns about Parenting/Homeschooling (44.0% vs. 31.1%, p < 0.001) and Work/Life Balance (28.4 vs. 13.7, p < 0.001), and participants with a preschool-aged child more frequently addressed Access to Childcare (24.0 vs. 7.7, p < 0.001) and Spouse/Partner Relationships (15.8 vs. 9.5, p < 0.001), when compared to those without children in these age groups.

Conclusions: The physician workforce is not homogenous. Health care and government leaders need to understand these diverse challenges in order to meet physicians’ professional and family needs during the pandemic.

Anxiety levels among physician-mothers during the COVID pandemic
Linos E., Halley M., Sarkar U., Manugrian C., Sabry H., Olazo K., Mathews K., Diamond L., Goyal M., Linos E., Jagsi R. 2021. Anxiety levels among physician-mothers during the COVID pandemicAmerican Journal of Psychiatry 178(2), 203-204

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Abstract

In the past decade, public sector organizations around the world have worked to simplify administrative processes as a way to improve user experience and compliance. Academic evidence on administrative burden supports this approach and there is a strong body of research showing that learning costs, compliance costs and psychological costs help to explain why residents do not always take-up programs for which they are eligible. This article considers the role of these types of costs in a different set of resident-state interactions: compliance with regulations. We present the results of three large field experiments aimed at improving resident compliance with municipal housing codes using targeted behavioral interventions. We find that contacting property owners earlier, redesigning first notices, and proactively communicating with previous violators, can significantly improve compliance by 14.7 percent, 3.3 percent, and 9.2 percent respectively, with costs savings ranging from 6–15 percent of a city’s annual enforcement budget. Our results counterintuitively suggest that sometimes adding steps to an administrative process can reduce the costs associated with the resident-state interaction.

The Pandemic in Prison: Implications for California Politics and Policymaking
Lerman, A. E, & Harney, J. (2020). The Pandemic in Prison: Implications for California Politics and Policymaking. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 12(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.5070/P2cjpp1150413 Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/14p2v75w

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Abstract

The effects of COVID-19 across California have been devastating, but the impact of the virus has been particularly acute in the state’s overcrowded prisons and jails.  The epidemic has clear implications for incarcerated individuals and their families, but also for the tens of thousands of Californians employed in the state’s prison system. These workers represent a powerful force in state politics (Myers, 2018; Williams et al., 2020).

Behavioral Public Administration: Past, Present, and Future
Bhanot, S.P. and Linos, E., 2020. Behavioral Public Administration: Past, Present, and FuturePublic Administration Review, 80(1), pp.168-171.

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Abstract

The last decade has seen remarkable growth in the field of behavioral public administration, both in practice and in academia. In both domains, applications of behavioral science to policy problems have moved forward at breakneck speed; researchers are increasingly pursuing randomized behavioral interventions in public administration contexts, editors of peer-reviewed academic journals are showing greater interest in publishing this work, and policy makers at all levels are creating new initiatives to bring behavioral science into the public sector. However, because the expansion of the field has been so rapid, there has been relatively little time to step back and reflect on the work that has been done and to assess where the field is going in the future. It is high time for such reflection: where is the field currently on track, and where might it need course correction?

Where Policies and Politics Diverge: Awareness, Assessments, and Attribution in The ACA
Amy E Lerman, Samuel Trachtman, Where Policies and Politics Diverge: Awareness, Assessments, and Attribution in The ACA, Public Opinion Quarterly, Volume 84, Issue 2, Summer 2020, Pages 419–445, https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfaa028

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Abstract

How citizens hold government accountable in democratic systems is one of the fundamental questions of political science and has long been of interest to scholars of public opinion. Accountability for the performance of government requires individuals to make accurate evaluations of the effects of policy decisions, and to trace responsibility for policy decisions to the appropriate politician or political party. In this paper, we study the question of democratic accountability in the context of the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. Not surprisingly, how citizens evaluate the state of the world and locate responsibility has less to do with marketplace performance, and much more to do with political allegiance. However, we theorize and find evidence that supports two substantial exceptions to the overwhelming role of partisan identification: Both political independents and those with personal policy experience are capable of linking objective conditions with broader political assessments. These findings have important implications for our understanding of democratic accountability and for the design of public policies in a federal system.

Abstract

Police departments are struggling to recruit officers and voluntary drop-off of candidates exacerbates the challenge. Using four years of administrative data and a field experiment in the LAPD, we analyze the impact of administrative burden on the likelihood that a candidate will remain in the recruitment process. We find that reducing friction costs to participation and simplifying processes improves compliance, as behavioral science would predict. Applicants who were offered simpler, standardized processes completed more tests and were more likely to be hired. Later reductions to perceived burden led to an 8% increase in compliance at one stage, with a 60% increase in compliance within two weeks. However, removing steps that would have allowed for better understanding of eligibility kept unqualified candidates in the process for longer, thereby reducing organizational efficiency. These results extend the field’s understanding of how administrative burden can impact the selection of talent into government.

Abstract

American government is in the midst of a reputation crisis. An overwhelming majority of citizens—Republicans and Democrats alike—hold negative perceptions of the government and believe it is wasteful, inefficient, and doing a generally poor job managing public programs and providing public services. When social problems arise, Americans are therefore skeptical that the government has the ability to respond effectively. It’s a serious problem, argues Amy E. Lerman, and it will not be a simple one to fix.

With Good Enough for Government Work, Lerman uses surveys, experiments, and public opinion data to argue persuasively that the reputation of government is itself an impediment to government’s ability to achieve the common good. In addition to improving its efficiency and effectiveness, government therefore has an equally critical task: countering the belief that the public sector is mired in incompetence. Lerman takes readers through the main challenges. Negative perceptions are highly resistant to change, she shows, because we tend to perceive the world in a way that confirms our negative stereotypes of government—even in the face of new information. Those who hold particularly negative perceptions also begin to “opt out” in favor of private alternatives, such as sending their children to private schools, living in gated communities, and refusing to participate in public health insurance programs. When sufficient numbers of people opt out of public services, the result can be a decline in the objective quality of public provision. In this way, citizens’ beliefs about government can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with consequences for all. Lerman concludes with practical solutions for how the government might improve its reputation and roll back current efforts to eliminate or privatize even some of the most critical public services.

Feedback Effects and the Criminal Justice Bureaucracy: Officer Attitudes and the Future of Correctional Reform
Lerman AE, Harney J. Feedback Effects and the Criminal Justice Bureaucracy: Officer Attitudes and the Future of Correctional Reform. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2019;685(1):227-249. doi:10.1177/0002716219869907

Abstract

Although political scientists have documented the effects of incarceration on those serving time in prison and jail, there has been much less discussion about feedback effects on the attitudes of those who work in correctional institutions. This is a considerable oversight, given the enormous growth of the correctional workforce and its importance in the implementation of crime policy. In this article, we present original survey data from a large sample of California correctional officers. Our analyses suggest that characteristics of the institutions where correctional officers work—the levels of violence to which they are exposed, the proportion of inmates involved in high-quality rehabilitation programs, as well as the quality of management—help to shape officers’ attitudes toward rehabilitation. These dynamics have important implications for how public policies can create political constituencies among criminal justice officers. The attitudes of these officers should therefore be a concern for scholars, advocates, and practitioners who are interested in political strategies for long-term, meaningful reform to the correctional system.

Increasing diversity in radiation oncology: a call to action
Nead K., Linos E., Vapiwala N. 2018. Increasing Diversity in Radiation Oncology: A Call to Action. Advances in Radiation Oncology. December 6.

Physician mothers’ experience of workplace discrimination: a qualitative analysis
Halley M., Rustagi A., Torres J., Linos E., Plaut V., Mangurian C., Choo E., Linos E. 2018. Physician Mothers’ Experience of Workplace Discrimination: A Qualitative Analysis. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 363:k4926

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Abstract

Design Qualitative analysis of physician mothers’ free-text responses to the open question: “We want to hear your story and experience. Please share” included in questions about workplace discrimination. Three analysts iteratively formulated a structured codebook, then applied codes after inter-coder reliability scores indicated high concordance. The relationships among themes and sub-themes were organized into a conceptual model illustrated by exemplary quotes.

 

Participants Respondents to an anonymous, voluntary online survey about the health and wellbeing of physician mothers posted on a Facebook group, the Physician Moms Group, an online community of US physicians who identify as mothers.

 

Results We analyzed 947 free-text responses. Participants provide diverse and vivid descriptions of experiences of maternal discrimination. Gendered job expectations, financial inequalities (including lower pay than equally qualified colleagues and more unpaid work), limited opportunities for advancement, lack of support during the pregnancy and postpartum period, and challenging work-life balance are some of the key themes identified. In addition, participants’ quotes show several potential structural drivers of maternal discrimination and describe the downstream consequences of maternal discrimination on the physician herself, her career, family, and the healthcare system.

 

Conclusions These findings provide a view of maternal discrimination directly from the perspective of those who experience it. Women physicians report a range of previously uncharacterized ways in which they experience maternal discrimination. While certain aspects of these experiences are consistent with those reported by women across other professions, there are unique aspects of medical training and the medical profession that perpetuate maternal discrimination.

Increasing Take-up of Cal Grants
Linos E., Reddy V., and Rothstein J. 2018. Increasing Take-up of Cal Grants. In Designing Financial Aid for California’s Future. The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) Research Report. November.

Paid Family and Childbearing Leave Policies at Top US Medical Schools
Riano N.S., Linos E., Accurso E.C., Sung D., Linos E., Simard J.F. and Mangurian, C., 2018. Paid Family and Childbearing Leave Policies at Top US Medical SchoolsJournal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 319(6), pp.611-614.

Abstract

Retaining women in academic medicine is challenging, despite gender parity in medical training. Child-rearing and differential preferences on work-life balance may contribute to sex differences in retention in medicine.1 Retaining women during childbearing years is central to gender parity, as even short workforce interruptions can have long-term consequences—and may partially explain the gender wage gap. Our goal was to examine variations in childbearing and family leave policies at top US medical schools.

United in States of Dissatisfaction: Confirmation Bias Across the Partisan Divide
Lerman AE, Acland D. United in States of Dissatisfaction: Confirmation Bias Across the Partisan Divide. American Politics Research. 2020;48(2):227-237. doi:10.1177/1532673X18799274

Abstract

Partisan polarization is a central feature of American political life, and a robust literature has shown that citizens engage in partisan motivated reasoning when processing political information. At the same time, however, recent events have highlighted a rising tide of antigovernment sentiment among Democrats and Republicans alike. Using an original set of survey experiments, we find that citizens engage in confirmation bias when they encounter new information, and this is driven not only by party and ideology but also by beliefs about the quality and efficiency of government. Taken together, our findings suggest important limitations to citizens’ capacity to learn about public administration, and expand our understanding of what drives confirmation bias with respect to public and private service provision.

Abstract

There is a human capital crisis looming in the public sector as fewer and fewer people show interest in government jobs. At the same time, many public sector organizations struggle with increasing the diversity of their workforce. Although many institutional forces contribute to the challenge, part of the solution is in how government recruits. This study presents the results of a field experiment aimed at attracting more and different people to apply to a police force by varying job advertisements in a postcard. The results suggest that focusing on public service motivation (PSM) messages is ineffective at attracting candidates that would not have applied anyway. Rather, messages that focus on the personal benefits of applying to the job—either emphasizing the challenge of the job or the career benefits—are three times as effective at getting individuals to apply as the control, without an observable loss in applicant quality. These messages are particularly effective for people of color and women, thereby supporting a key policy goal of the police to increase diversity of applicants.

Abstract

How to increase diversity in the police is an unanswered question that has received significant political and media attention. One area of intervention is the recruitment process itself. This study reports the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a police force that was experiencing a disproportionate drop in minority applicants during one particular test. Drawing on insights from the literatures on stereotype threat, belonging uncertainty and values affirmation exercises, we redesigned the wording on the email inviting applicants to participate in the test. The results show a 50 per cent increase in the probability of passing the test for minority applicants in the treatment group, with no effect on white applicants. Therefore, the intervention closed the racial gap in the pass rate without lowering the recruitment standard or changing the assessment questions.

Policy Uptake as Political Behavior: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act
LERMAN, A., SADIN, M., & TRACHTMAN, S. (2017). Policy Uptake as Political Behavior: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act. American Political Science Review, 111(4), 755-770. doi:10.1017/S0003055417000272

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Abstract

Partisanship is a primary predictor of attitudes toward public policy. However, we do not yet know whether party similarly plays a role in shaping public policy behavior, such as whether to apply for government benefits or take advantage of public services. While existing research has identified numerous factors that increase policy uptake, the role of politics has been almost entirely overlooked. In this paper, we examine the case of the Affordable Care Act to assess whether policy uptake is not only about information and incentives; but also about politics. Using longitudinal data, we find that Republicans have been less likely than Democrats to enroll in an insurance plan through state or federal exchanges, all else equal. Employing a large-scale field experiment, we then show that de-emphasizing the role of government (and highlighting the market’s role) can close this partisan gap.

Policy Uptake as Political Behavior: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act
American Political Science Review, Volume 111, Issue 4, November 2017, pp. 755 – 770.

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Abstract

Partisanship is a primary predictor of attitudes toward public policy. However, we do not yet know whether party similarly plays a role in shaping public policy behavior, such as whether to apply for government benefits or take advantage of public services. While existing research has identified numerous factors that increase policy uptake, the role of politics has been almost entirely overlooked. In this paper, we examine the case of the Affordable Care Act to assess whether policy uptake is not only about information and incentives; but also about politics. Using longitudinal data, we find that Republicans have been less likely than Democrats to enroll in an insurance plan through state or federal exchanges, all else equal. Employing a large-scale field experiment, we then show that de-emphasizing the role of government (and highlighting the market’s role) can close this partisan gap.

Abstract

In just four decades, the size of the U.S. state prison population grew by more than 700 percent. By 2008, the number of incarcerated individuals in the United States hit an all-time high, with 1 in 100 adults in either prison or jail and fully 1 in every 31 American adults under some form of correctional jurisdiction (including incarceration, probation, and parole).

Researchers have noted these patterns and trends with alarm. Yet while expansive studies have been conducted on correctional systems in the United States, most of this work begins and ends with a focus on the incarcerated. Much of the early literature either ignores correctional personnel altogether, or paints an overly simplistic picture. While interest in those who work inside American prisons has begun to grow, we still know surprisingly little about what happens to correctional personnel as a function of spending a career inside the prison system.

Like the number of people incarcerated, the ranks of people employed by the U.S. criminal justice system have increased substantially. As of 2003, almost 13 percent of all public employees (and a larger percentage in 15 states and the District of Columbia) worked in the criminal justice sector. Corrections alone accounts for more than 63 percent of state criminal justice employees, with police protection and judicial/legal employees accounting for the other 14 and 22 percent, respectively. In recent years, the correctional system has employed more people than General Motors, Ford, and Wal-Mart combined.

On the front lines of the prison system, correctional officers, perhaps more than anyone else, directly affect the practice of incarceration in the way that they perform their jobs. Because of this, correctional programs and policies can have little chance of success without their overall health. This is particularly important when considering the mission of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and its goals of promoting public safety through a professional staff, as well as a constructive correctional and rehabilitation environment. Understanding that correctional work can negatively impact the well-being of both inmates and correctional officers, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), the CCPOA Benefit Trust Fund (BTF), and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) have joined forces with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) to address the issues of law enforcement health and wellness.

As a starting point, Dr. Amy E. Lerman and her team at UCB developed the California Correctional Officer Survey (CCOS). The CCOS is a large-scale effort to gather individual-level information on the thoughts, attitudes, and experiences of criminal justice personnel. The CCOS was first conducted in 2006, and the instrument was then expanded and replicated from March to May of 2017. The most recent survey includes a sample of 8,334 officers and other sworn staff, providing a vast cross-section of officers across all of California’s correctional institutions and parole offices.

This report summarizes the results of the CCOS across a set of broad but related categories: mental and physical wellness; exposure to violence; attitudes towards rehabilitation and punishment; job training and management; work-life balance; and training and support.

Abstract

Using a regression discontinuity design, we show that personal experience with public health insurance programs exerts a causal influence on attitudes toward both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. However, we argue that the conditional dynamics of these policy feedback effects differ from standard models of opinion formation and change. Specifically, we find that personal experience can shape preferences among those whose partisanship might otherwise make them resistant to elite messaging; in the case of support for health policy, we find effects of public programs are most pronounced among Republicans. In addition, we find that the effects of personal experience, unlike attempts to shape attitudes through elite political messaging, are concentrated among low-information voters who might otherwise not be attuned to the political environment.

Abstract

Organizational scholarship centers on understanding organizational context, usually captured through field studies, as well as determining causality, typically with laboratory experiments. We argue that field experiments can bridge these approaches, bringing causality to field research and developing organizational theory in novel ways. We present a taxonomy that proposes when to use an audit field experiment (AFE), procedural field experiment (PFE) or innovation field experiment (IFE) in organizational research and argue that field experiments are more feasible than ever before. With advances in technology, behavioral data has become more available and randomized changes are easier to implement, allowing field experiments to more easily create value—and impact—for scholars and organizations alike.

Combating biased decision making & promoting justice & equal treatment
Sah, S., Tannenbaum, D., Cleary, H., Feldman, Y., Glaser, J., Lerman, A., . . . Winship, C. (2016). Combating biased decisionmaking & promoting justice & equal treatment. Behavioral Science & Policy, 2(2), pp. 79–87.

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Abstract

This article draws on the behavioral science literature to offer empirically driven policy prescriptions that can reduce the effect of bias and ameliorate unequal treatment in policing, the criminal justice system, employment, and national security.

A Trade-Off Between Safety and Democracy?
Lerman, A. Weaver, V. 2016

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Abstract

The internal management and culture of prison institutions has been too long neglected as a topic of serious inquiry. This chapter examines the judicial idea of a trade-off between safety and democracy in the modern American prison by examining inmate advisory councils in the state of California (called IACs, or inmate advisory councils). The first task is empirical. Using data from three sources, little evidence is found that more active inmate advisory councils are associated with a greater prevalence of violence. Rather, there is a significant and negative association between participation in inmate self-governance and the incidence of violence. The chapter also begins the work of theorizing the democratic deficits of prisons today and suggests to scholars of the carceral state that procedural justice and legitimacy are as important within the prison environment as they are in the venues in which they have been traditionally assessed.

A Head for Hiring: The Behavioural Science of Recruitment and Selection
Linos E., Reinhard J. 2015. A Head for Hiring: The Behavioural Science of Recruitment and Selection. Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD) Research Report.

Abstract

In The Modern Prison Paradox, Amy E. Lerman examines the shift from rehabilitation to punitivism that has taken place in the politics and practice of American corrections. She argues that this punitive turn has had profoundly negative consequences for both crime control and American community life. Professor Lerman’s research shows that spending time in America’s increasingly violent and castigatory prisons strengthens inmates’ criminal networks and fosters attitudes that increase the likelihood of criminal activity following parole. Additionally, Professor Lerman assesses whether America’s more punitive prisons similarly shape the social attitudes and behaviors of correctional staff. Her analysis reveals that working in more punitive prisons causes correctional officers to develop an “us against them” mentality while on the job, and that the stress and wariness officers acquire at work carries over into their personal lives, straining relationships with partners, children, and friends.