“A sociologist … said that pandemics fracture society along known fault lines. And that is so true. Every single one of the issues that we have historically worked on that are at the core of what we do has been touched and exacerbated by COVID. … It’s energized us.”
For ten years, husband and wife Laura and John Arnold have grappled with some of society’s most intractable problems. Their Houston-based philanthropy, Arnold Ventures, addresses disparities in public finance, health, education, and especially criminal justice, where they hope their evidence-based approach will help drive needed reform.
“In jails and prisons, we are doing a lot of thinking to try to help prisons understand how to keep prisoners safe, in addition to having the tough conversation about why are there so many people in prison in the first place,” she tells Mike. “Are there people who do not need to be here either because they're at risk [or] because they’re awaiting trial and they're only here because they can't make a relatively small bail amount payment? So, there's lots of work that can be done in reducing prison populations that needs to be done right now.”