August 05 2016

It feels a bit like Backlash Friday…have a good weekend.

How Wall Street Dehumanized Teenage Inmates with Scientology-Infused Therapy

Maia Szalavitz – VICE

In a tale that could only come from America’s dystopian justice system, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs funded a failed attempt to reduce recidivism among inmates at New York City’s Rikers Island jail by teaching teenagers that their own moral weakness is the source of their problems.

The project’s disappointing results were published last year, but the bank’s investors weren’t exactly going out on a limb with the experiment. The treatment used in the study is known as Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), and it’s listed in a US government database ostensibly designed to spotlight programs backed by scientific data. About a million inmates across America have been exposed to it, according to proponents. Yet the story of MRT at Rikers shows how little thought is typically given to programs intended to help people with addiction and other problems behind bars, and how miserable the evidence base for such treatment really is.

The saga also suggests that even when corporations want to do good, the expert advice they receive is often problematic at best.


For a Smarter Investment in Cities, Act Against Predatory Revenue

Ryan Bowers, Melissa Deshields, Micah Gilmer & Marcus Littles – NEXT CITY

Granted, some investors are beginning to explore municipal bonds in terms of their ability to pay for social service initiatives through social impact bonds or how green bonds can fund environmentally beneficial projects.