LJAF’s Criminal Justice initiative aims to reduce crime, increase public safety, and ensure the criminal justice system operates as fairly and cost-effectively as possible. In order to achieve these goals, we work to develop, incubate, and spread innovative approaches to criminal justice challenges. We build teams of experts from both inside and outside the criminal justice field to develop research projects, create tools for practitioners, and partner with local jurisdictions to pilot and test new policies and practices. Our projects use data and technology as a means to drive innovation and accelerate the adoption of proven reforms.
Currently, we focus our efforts on two targeted areas: the front end of the system, which runs from arrest through sentencing, and forensic science. We selected these areas because we believe that reforms in these areas can significantly improve safety, cost, and fairness. We also believe these areas are likely to benefit from our collaborative, data- and technology-driven approach to transforming the criminal justice system.
The Foundation works to maximize opportunities for quality K-12 education in the United States. We seek to create, expand and/or replicate effective systems of high-performing schools, particularly in underserved communities. Our core strategy focuses on three primary levers for reform:
LJAF is committed to supporting evidence-based decision making by governments, promoting transparency and data-sharing, exploring innovative financing mechanisms for social problem solving, and maximizing overall government performance and efficiencies.
We work actively in the area of public employee benefits reform. State and local budgets across the nation continue to face considerable financial strain, and the structure of public employee benefits in most states and communities is unsustainable. The economic and social costs of governments failing to pay for their promises are not only harmful to future generations of workers and taxpayers, but also potentially crippling to the nation. We seek to remedy this untenable situation by promoting transparency and concrete structural solutions that address the problem in a manner that is comprehensive, lasting, and fair to all parties.
Our additional areas of focus in the Public Accountability initiative include promoting the effective use of social innovation financing and supporting efforts that encourage and facilitate government decision making based on rigorous research and evaluation. We support pilot testing of innovative solutions to difficult problems, and are currently exploring other opportunities to improve public accountability through reforms of the electoral system and various initiatives relating to information transparency.
LJAF’s Research Integrity initiative aims to improve the reliability and validity of scientific evidence across fields that inform governmental policy, philanthropic endeavors, and individual decision making. As a society, we often rely on published scientific research to guide our policy, health, and lifestyle choices. Although some published research is rigorous and reliable, some is not. Worse, the unreliability of research is often difficult or impossible to ascertain. LJAF is currently working to address this problem by supporting organizations that are committed to improving the openness, transparency, and quality of research. All research projects sponsored in full or in part by LJAF must follow the Guidelines for Investments in Research.