EEUU: Vera News, New guides for prosecutors and police, upcoming community forum, and more

Recent eventsThe Ford Foundation and Vera’s Common Justice project recently brought together a wide range of perspectives to discuss the violence experienced by young men of color and the lack of support services available to them. Watch thefull video of the panel discussion and read a recap of the event on Colorlines.

And our Justice in Focus: Crime Bill @ 20 initiative culminated in Washington, DC last week with an event where leaders in public policy and criminal justice—including Senator Cory Booker and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin—shared what they’ve learned about a path forward to real reform. Watch the full event and stay tuned for a full recap.

Online & in the medianew blog series, as part of our Police Connecting with Communities of Color project, explores the importance of positive relationships between law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities they serve. In the latest posts, experts in the field give advice on responding thoughtfully to public concerns in the wake of a contentious police incident and preventing a complainant’s bias from influencing an officer’s response.

Vera President Nicholas Turner joined the New York Times’ Room for Debate, arguing that we can improve public safety by reducing the number of mentally ill people who are jailed. An in a op-ed, he drew on Vera’s long history in bail reform to make the case for doing away with bail entirely.

From the Justice Reform for Healthy Communities Initiative:
First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray wrote a blog postas part of our Breaking Point series with WNYC. Watch her opening remarks—and the full discussion with Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Francis Greenburger, Robert Bernstein, and others—at our recentpanel on the current state of institutionalization for those with mental illness. And register now for a community forum next week on the city’s mental health crisis, hosted by Vera and WNYC at the Schomburg Center.

A new publication, Bridging the Gap: Improving the Health of Justice-Involved People through Information Technology, reports on a September 2014 conference convened by the federal Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration to discuss innovative programs around the country that are using health information technology to create public safety and public health collaborations that improve continuity of care.

A Prosecutor’s Guide to Advancing Racial Equity

Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (PRJ) published this guide to help prosecutors examine how the broad discretionary power they wield in case-processing decisions may result in racially disparate outcomes. The guide, based on PRJ’s nine years of experience as research partner with a number of district attorneys, is designed to aid prosecutors seeking to conduct research into their offices’ work and address any problems contributing to racial disparity the research uncovers. Along with the guide, Vera has published a web resourcecontaining interviews with five prosecutors and full panel discussions from PRJ’s recent Symposium on Justice, Race, and Prosecution, co-hosted with Harvard Law School.

Uniting Communities Post-9/11: Tactics for Cultivating Community Partnerships with Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian Communities

Funded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, thisguide identifies barriers to effective community policing partnerships with Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities and offers recommendations on building trust and mutually beneficial relationships that can aid in crime prevention and victim services. The guide’s content is distilled from Vera’s work with the local law enforcement agencies and AMEMSA community organizations in Piscataway, New Jersey; Anaheim, California; and Cleveland, Ohio.

Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis

March 26, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

WNYC reporter Cindy Rodriguez will host a community forum in conjunction with Vera about mental health, poverty, and criminal justice in New York. Four decades after New York closed most of its asylums, it has yet to build a new system that provides adequate mental health care. Alongside a panel of local leaders and experts in health, government, policy and grassroots advocacy, audience members will share and explore experiences around issues that touch so many lives today. The evening conversation will also feature on-site resource and information tables, as well as remarks by First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray.
More information and registration.

Democracy in the Dark: A Book Talk with Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.

April 9, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
NYU School of Law, Lipton Hall

Vera trustee and Chief Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.’s important new book, Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy, illuminates the timely question: how much secrecy does good governance require? Join the Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law, the ACLU, Common Cause New York, NRDC, and Vera for a candid discussion with the author, hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “an exceptionally well-positioned observer and participant in the contentious history of government secrecy.” More information and registration.

Save the Date: Vera Spring Gala

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers

“Job Hunting With a Criminal Record”
The New York Times (Editorial)
March 19, 2015

“Jail population plunges”
Albuquerque Journal
March 15, 2015

Crime Victims Are Not Who You Think”
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (op-ed)
March 10, 2015

Liberals and Libertarians Are Coming Together to Fix the Criminal Justice System”
February 27, 2015

“A National Cry for Criminal Justice Reform”
The Washington Post (opinion)
February 24, 2015

“8 Jarring Facts That Every American Needs to Know About Our Prison System”
February 20, 2015

Letter to the Editor re: “How Not to Raise the Age”
The Marshall Project
March 16, 2015

“Should a Criminal Record be a Life Sentence to Poverty?”
The Nation
March 11, 2015

Seeking common ground in very different views of mental illness” The Public’s Health blog
February 27, 2015

As Jail Visits Go High-Tech, Isolation Grows”
February 27, 2015

There’s a disturbing truth to John Legend’s Oscar statement about prisons and slavery”
The Washington Post Wonk Blog
February 23, 2015

“How Criminal Justice Reform Became The Least Controversial Issue in the 2016 Presidential Race”
February 18, 2015

Breaking Point: Embracing a public health approach to justice reform
By Glenn Martin
State would cover all costs of raising the age in New York
By Christian Henrichson
New funding for victim services could enhance racial equity
by Danielle Sered
Community policing post-9/11: Rebuilding trust with AMEMSA communities
By Susan Shah
Bipartisan bill is critical to caring for youth and families in crisis
By Maliha Ali
Faces of an era
By Ram Subramanian and Allison Shames
The Vera Institute of Justice is a research and policy organization that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety.

Vera News: New guides for prosecutors and police, upcoming community forum, and more.



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