EEUU: Vera News, The misuse of jails in America, the mental health crisis in New York, and more

Incarceration’s Front Door

The Misuse of Jails in America looks at the growth and current use of jails in the U.S., its impact on communities, and identifies opportunities for reform. Read related coverage in the New York Times, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and more. The report is part of The Safety and Justice Challenge, a new initiative funded by the MacArthur Foundation to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Our new blog series complements WNYC’s radio series “Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis” with coverage from a range of experts on the nexus of poverty, mental health, and the criminal justice system. Read the first four posts in the series, including the most recent by Elizabeth Glazer, director of the NYC Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice.

Vera President Nicholas Turner released a statement supporting the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice on how to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction in New York from 16 to 18.

Fred Patrick has been named director of Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, after serving since 2012 as director of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education project. And Chris Weiss joined Vera as director of its Substance Use and Mental Health Program. Weiss was previously a senior research analyst for Langer Research Associates.

Vera welcomed five new members to its board of trustees: William Floyd, Debo P. Adegbile, Evan C. Guillemin, Dr. Amanda Heron Parsons, and Mylan Denerstein. Retiring from the board are William P. Dickey, Richard G. Dudley, and Sheena Wright.

Nicholas Turner submitted written testimony to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing on the topic of building trust and legitimacy between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.


End of an Era? The Impact of Drug Law Reform in New York City

In 2009, the latest in a series of reforms essentially dismantled New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of a range of felony drug charges and increasing eligibility for diversion to treatment. This report found that drug law reform has led to a 35 percent rise in the rate of diversion of eligible defendants to treatment, was associated with reduced recidivism rates, and cut racial disparities in half.

Read coverage of the report in the Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News.

Culture, Language, and Access: Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Recent research suggests that Deaf women experience higher rates of sexual and domestic violence than their hearing counterparts, but are often shut off from victim services and supports that are ill-equipped to respond to their unique needs. As a result, they are denied access to services that could help them safely flee from abuse, heal from trauma, and seek justice after they have been harmed. This policy brief offers practical suggestions for expanding and enhancing Deaf survivors’ access to victim services and other supports.

Relief in Sight? States Rethink the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction, 2009-2014

Forty-one states have enacted legislation since 2009 that revises post-conviction barriers to voting, housing, jobs, education, and social services, allowing certain individuals to move beyond their criminal record. This report reviews that legislative activity, discusses the limitations of current approaches, and offers recommendations to states and localities considering similar reforms. This report is the last in a series on recent state legislative trends including mandatory sentences, drug law reforms, and 2013 sentencing and corrections trends.

Cultivating Evaluation Capacity: A Guide for Programs Addressing Sexual and Domestic Violence

To ensure that they deliver what they promise—and do so cost-effectively—social service providers that serve victims of sexual and domestic violence are beginning to recognize the benefits of evaluating their programs. This guide helps these service providers assess their evaluation capacity and identify areas of strength, as well as areas for improvement. In addition to the publication, Vera has created a resource hub on its website to provide domestic and sexual violence service providers with access to five webinars that explore a number of topics addressed in the guide and provide an inside look at how organizations have applied these lessons in the field.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Justice Policy Toolkit

Throughout the justice field, demand is growing for cost-benefit analysis (CBA), an economic tool that compares the costs of programs or policies with the benefits they produce. Although there is no one-size-fits-all template for conducting a CBA, analysts and researchers must follow a common methodology, or series of steps. This toolkit guides users through these steps and provides examples of Vera’s recent work advising six justice agencies that were either starting or enhancing their CBA efforts.

Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence

Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. This issue brief aims to raise awareness of this large but often overlooked group of victims, and help foster efforts—both local and nationwide—to provide them with the compassionate support and services they need and deserve.


Justice in Focus: The Path Forward

March 10, 8:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

GWU School of Media and Public Affairs

Washington, DC 

We are very pleased that almost all of our original participants will be joining us for our rescheduled Justice in Focus event, including Senator Cory Booker, who will have a conversation with The Marshall Project’s Bill Keller, and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Vera President Nick Turner, who will sit down with PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff.



Vera News: The misuse of jails in America, the mental health crisis in New York, and more.



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