The Public Purpose Journal is proud to present the six selected submissions for our 2019 print journal. Find titles, authors and abstracts below.
Barriers to Abortion Access for Active-Duty Servicewomen Stationed Domestically and Abroad
In 2016, there were 204,628 active-duty women in the United States Armed Forces. These servicewomen face a number of hurdles, chief among them an inaccessibility to a vital component of reproductive healthcare – abortion services. Barriers to abortion care take the form of restriction in TRICARE, as well as a ban on abortion procedures in military treatment facilities. In addition, servicewomen’s barriers to access mirror those that civilian women endure, including ultrasound requirements, mandatory delays, TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws, the stigma that continues to surround abortion, and confidentiality concerns. The burdens on servicewomen who wish to access abortion care are, in many cases, insurmountable. This creates circumstances in which servicewomen cannot receive the timely and comprehensive medical care they are entitled to as Americans.
Cracking Down on Sentencing Disparities: The Federal Sentencing Act of 2010’s Impact on Cocaine Offenders
Crack cocaine’s growth in the United States during the mid-1980s was accompanied by a slew of deterrence-driven criminal justice policies. One such policy was the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 (ADAA). The ADAA’s general imposition of longer prison sentences for all cocaine offenders had a disparate and devastating impact on communities of color. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) attempted to remedy such disparities by lowering the sentencing ratio for crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1. Using secondary data from the United States Sentencing Commission, this study examines the FSA’s impact on sentencing disparities of African American and White cocaine offenders. Results from difference-in-difference regression analyses indicate that the FSA not only lowered the average prison sentence length for all cocaine offenders, but also report an average of a 7 to 11 months reduction in prison sentences for crack cocaine offenders. Additionally, results indicate that the reduced effect on sentence lengths was stronger for African American than White cocaine offenders. This study aims to supply policymakers with research about unjust disparities in sentencing.
Dependence, Violence, and Neglect in Women With Disabilities
This piece evaluates the relationship between dependence and abuse amongst disabled women, with particular attention to women who need home assistance and help with day-to-day tasks. The findings demonstrate rates of neglect increase as need for assistance increases. Policy solutions to this problem include: (1) human-centered awareness trainings for personal care assistants or family members who serve dependent individuals, (2) trainings oriented for individuals with disabilities (including educational programs on signs of neglect and abuse and actions they can take) and (3) internal accountability improvements in institutions that provide patient care. To combat ableism, or the discrimination against people with disabilities, effective political advocacy must ensure that the inclusion of individuals with disabilities is prioritized, and that their voices are not overshadowed.
Government-Led Development Initiatives in Zimbabwe
This piece reviews Zimbabwe’s varied and numerous efforts to spur development, identifying the good intentions and motivations behind the programs, as well as how these programs have been burdened by political tension and unintended consequences. The nation’s history of oppression and underdevelopment has stunted any efforts to create economic growth. In the early 1990s, Zimbabwe participated in the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which allowed countries to restructure debt. The country did not meet the goals of this program, and in fact, created more widespread economic impoverishment. President Mugabe’s administration was the driving force in Zimbabwe’s involvement with the SAPs of the World Bank. Moreover, Mugabe’s action led to the vast majority of the country’s failed economic development programs. These programs, and Mugabe’s actions by extension, failed to incorporate the need for people to play an active role in attaining their freedom, as well as the importance of individual instrumental freedoms.
Municipal Broadband Networks: A Work in Progress
There are, to this day, large swaths of America that have little to no access to high-speed broadband internet. This piece explores how local governments are capable of providing access to high-speed broadband internet to local, rural, communities through municipal broadband networks. It also describes best practices for local leaders interested in increasing access to the internet. The disparity in internet access is explained by three factors: (1) location, (2) population, and (3) competition. The creation of a public option would eliminate the challenges that cause the disparity, allowing rural communities to enjoy the demonstrated economic benefits of increased access to internet, providing a line to an increasingly-connected world. While a public option eliminates many of the concerns of large internet service providers, it has its own challenges. They include the high cost of broadband installation, variance in management strategies, and state legislative action.
Case Study: Inclusionary Zoning in Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C.’s inclusionary zoning program, which began in August 2009, has four goals: (1) Create mixed income neighborhoods, (2) Produce affordable housing for a diverse labor force, (3) Seek equitable growth of new residents, and (4) Increase homeownership opportunities for 50 percent Median Family Income (MFI) and 80 percent MFI households. This piece reviews the current inclusionary zoning project in Washington, D.C. and attempts to clarify the main challenges in the implementation of the program. Eligibility for the inclusionary zoning program is determined by the MFI for the DC Fair Market Rent Area, but this statistic is flawed. It does not appropriately characterize the severity of inequality in the region and the economic reality of the city’s lowest income residents.