Who is in the Marion County Jail? Exploring Length of Stay through an Equity Lens

We examine inmate and booking data obtained from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Our analysis explores length of stay and the presence of mental health and substance use among Marion County Jail inmates, drawing attention to the characteristics of those with longer lengths of stay or charges that might merit alternative responses in the community or reduced jail time. We also examine racial disproportionalities within the jail, as half of inmate bookings in recent years are from the Black community, in comparison to the racial composition of Marion County, which is only 30% Black.

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SAVI Community Information System

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Living in the Community with Dementia

We discuss the many challenges faced by the growing number of older Hoosiers living with dementia in the community. We cover dementia care services developed in Indiana that have been shown to improve the health outcomes of most people living with dementia (PLWD) and reduce caregiver stress. Community and state initiatives to better address the challenges of PLWD and their caregivers are also be shared. The Polis Center partners with the Central Indiana Senior Fund, WFYI, and IUPUI School of Informatics & Computing.

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Equity and Criminal Justice

An individual’s interaction with the criminal justice system is not necessarily a random event: Research shows that beginning from birth, various factors including disability, race, gender, and economic status result in disproportionate impact on subpopulations in a way that makes them more likely to engage with the criminal justice system. These factors, and policies that alleviate or compound existing inequities will be examined using the Cradle to Prison Pipeline framework. We examine a concept called the “cradle to prison pipeline.” It is a review of some of the basic statistics at each stage of this pipeline: childhood, school, juvenile justice, early adulthood, and imprisonment. For each stage, we present basic trends and disparities across race, place, gender, and other demographic variables. Research has shown that highlighting racial disparities can actually increase support for policies that perpetuate inequality, such as “stop and frisk.” With caution, this report maintains a focus on disparities, particularly between Black and white residents, because those are indicative of problems within systems and not the inherent criminality of individuals or populations.

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Worlds Further Apart

In 2015, the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health (FSPH) and The Polis Center published an issue brief, Worlds Apart: Gaps in Life Expectancy in the Indianapolis Metro Area, that brought to light a 14+ year gap in life expectancy between the longest and shortest living communities in Central Indiana. Because of the significant interest and community discussion that the report generated, we collaborated to update our analysis. We looked at which communities gained or lost life expectancy over a 10-year span (prior to COVID-19), and compared life expectancy at different ages across the life course to see how patterns differ. We also share key findings from a deep dive with SAVI data examining underlying social factors and life expectancy in Central Indiana communities. The gap from ZIP codes with the longest and shortest lifespans has grown to 17 years. This event is a partnership with SAVI and IU Fairbanks School of Public Health.

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Equity in Aging

Older adults face inequities from the actions of individuals and organizations, and at institutional and systemic levels. These inequities are based on, but not limited to, differences in age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and socioeconomic status and class. We look at existing financial stability inequities among Central Indiana’s older adult population and consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Presenters from The Polis Center and IU Public Policy Institute’s Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy present the findings using a social-ecological model as a framework for interpreting the implications of the available data. A panel of individuals representing social service agencies and the community, discuss how these inequities are experienced by older adults and consider needed community action. The Polis Center, IU Public Policy Institute, WFYI, the IU Center for Public Policy Research partner with Central Indiana Senior Fund to highlight these issues and solutions.

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Equity and Economic Opportunity

The income of the family you’re born into makes a big difference in how much you will earn as an adult. But, your race and the place your grow up also affect your economic opportunity. Building on research by Harvard’s Raj Chetty and his team, we developed new insights and highlighted findings about opportunity in Indianapolis neighborhoods. The average child born into a high-income family in Indianapolis earned $50,000 in household income when they were about 35. Children born to low-income families grew up to earn $27,000.

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A Better Quality of Life

Polis Center Executive Director David Bodenhamer talks about the purpose of the center.

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Faith & Community Episode 1: The Religious Landscape

THE RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE: The place and status of religion in America has changed both in relation to the larger culture and in relation to other religious traditions. This episode describes the rich opportunities and tremendous challenges for religious, civic, and government leaders.

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Faith & Community Episode 2: Religion in Black and White

RELIGION IN BLACK & WHITE: Nearly 90% of congregations in most American cities have virtually no membership from a race other than their own. This reality contradicts a desire to honor diversity and obey tenets that seek unity of all God’s people. Learn how a variety of leaders and communities are responding to the maxim that 11:00 AM on Sunday is the most segregated hour in America.

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Faith & Community Episode 3: Faith-Based Partnerships

FAITH-BASED PARTNERSHIPS: America’s civic and religious institutions have a long history of collaboration to provide social services. This segment explores the long history of these collaborations, guides our understanding of the difference between what congregations see as their mission and what other people sometimes see for them, and shows us what is new about faith-based initiatives.

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Faith & Community Episode 4: The Role of Religion in Times of Crisis

THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN TIMES OF CRISIS: Faith communities have a lengthy history of anticipating and responding to public need in times of crisis. Discover how public ministry is not only about public advocacy or social ministry, but can also be about the role a congregation and its members play in offering public space, public education, and public analysis.

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Faith & Community Episode 5: The Public Role of Clergy

THE PUBLIC ROLE OF CLERGY: What is the public role of today’s clergy? America’s religious leaders perform a variety of public functions. In this segment learn how well prepared they are for these roles and how the expectations of congregations, government leaders, and public citizens shape these public roles.

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Faith & Community Episode 6: Religion's Contribution of Social Leadership

RELIGION’S CONTRIBUTION OF SOCIAL LEADERSHIP: In this segment determine how religious adherents are often the most active participants in civic boards, agencies and activities. Also examine the relationship between a congregant’s religious life and life as a public citizen. Discover the variety of ways in which congregations prepare children, youth and adults to become citizen leaders.

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Faith & Community Episode 7: Religion's Role in Healthcare

RELIGION’S ROLE IN HEALTHCARE: Religious congregations established many of America’s schools, hospitals and orphanages. In this segment, see examples of faith-based health care initiatives and rediscover how religious history and practice strongly influence the delivery of social services. Consider what the future might hold for congregation-based clinics, parish nurses, and wellness programs.

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Faith & Community Episode 8: Religion and Immigration

RELIGION AND IMMIGRATION: Learn ways that faith communities continue to connect immigrants to their new American homes while also helping them to preserve important aspects of their native culture. We will explore how immigrants bring their cultural traditions to existing congregations, establish their own ethnic congregations, or bring their religious traditions to the community at large.

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Faith & Community Episode 9: Models of Metropolitan Ministry

MODELS OF METROPOLITAN MINISTRY: Many American congregations create metropolitan networks in a variety of ways, with an assortment of other congregations and institutions. There are different kinds of cooperative endeavors; among the more prominent are partnerships between urban and suburban congregations. Learn how some vital congregations are choosing the models best suited to their time and place.

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Faith & Community Episode 10: Sacred Spaces

SACRED SPACES: This segment will examine the many sacred spaces of a city: land, buildings, monuments and public art. Learn how creating, defining, and maintaining sacred spaces in a community can be enriching and sometimes controversial. We will closely examine religious influence on publicly accessible art and architecture asking and answering: How are these spaces and places being preserved?

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Faith & Community Episode 11: The Vitality of Religion

THE VITALITY OF RELIGION: How vital is religion in your community, and in America? Listen to leading experts and ordinary citizens describe how they measure the vitality of religion in the United States. This segment interviews key Indianapolis civic, religious and academic leaders who will consider religion’s place in the city in light of The Polis Center’s long-term research.

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Introduction and Sacred Space

INTRODUCTION AND SACRED SPACE: This episode begins to address sacred space, and how houses of worship express the values of the people who worship there.

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Sacred Rituals, Sacred Spaces

SACRED RITUALS, SACRED SPACES: Learn how people of different religious faiths go about designating space as sacred. How do the use of symbol, ritual and ceremony define what is sacred?

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Sacred Time

SACRED TIME: Sacred Time examines those periods religions set apart from the everyday practices of life. Specific times of the day, the week, or the year may be designated as sacred, including times when people gather to worship together.

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Sacred Memory

SACRED MEMORY: Sacred memory often is expressed in the form of ritual. This chapter explores the rituals and celebrations used to commemorate sacred memory.

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Sacred Texts and Stories

SACRED TEXTS AND STORIES: Christians revere the Bible, Jews the Torah, Muslims the Koran. Rituals may also convey stories sacred to the tradition. This chapter examines the ways that people of faith keep traditions alive, connect the past to the present, and preserve their religion for future generations.

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Religion as a Window on Culture: Sacred Journey

SACRED JOURNEY: A journey may be a physical pilgrimage leading to a particular holy place—as in the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Or it can be an overall journey, either outward or inward, in search of the fullest meaning of one’s religious beliefs.

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