April 2012

Apr 30, 2012 Alyssa Benedict is the Executive Director of CORE Associates and a partner of the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women (NRCJIW ) In recent weeks, the ACLU decided to urge Michigan’s Department of Corrections to ban the practice of what many consider to be unnecessarily invasive strip searches that are performed on female prisoners. The concern is that these particular searches are unduly invasive, depart from prevailing institutional practice and may be taking place...
Apr 24, 2012 In a recent 5-to-2 decision, New York’s highest court ruled that expert testimony about false confessions is admissible at trial when the evidence is relevant to the facts of a case. Although the judges upheld the conviction of the defendant Khemwatie Bedessie in a rape case, stating that the testimony of her expert witness was not relevant to the specifics of her confession, the ruling--while setting the bar high--opens the door for future defendants to argue that a false...
Apr 18, 2012 By Besiki Kutateladze, associate research director, Prosecution and Racial Justice Program In January 2011, Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (PRJ) began a partnership with the New York County District Attorney’s office (DANY). The 18-month project, funded by the National Institute of Justice, examines the impact of defendants’ and victims’ race on prosecutorial decision making for different offense categories at various discretion points, including initial screening,...
Apr 16, 2012 By Zhifen Cheng, senior research associate, Center on Immigration and Justice Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) is conducting a two-year research study to validate and disseminate a human trafficking victim-screening tool with the potential to improve victim identification, victim services, and law enforcement on a national scale. Vera initially developed the screening tool in 2008, working with various community service organizations and criminal justice agencies...
Apr 11, 2012 Rebecca Garza is Family Liaison Coordinator for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. In a recent survey of youth at a Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) facility, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition heard from youth that staying connected to their families is more difficult at state facilities as compared to county detention centers, and that they would like more contact with their families. In my role as the TJJD family liaison coordinator, I have been working on several...
Apr 10, 2012 This post originally appeared on the blog of the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a Vera project. Mindy Tarlow is the executive director and chief executive officer of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), whose headquarters is in New York City. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the nonprofit research organization MDRC published a report on a three-year evaluation of CEO, including a benefit-cost analysis*...
Apr 6, 2012 The Vera Institute of Justice helped Delaware reach an important milestone in its Justice Reinvestment Initiative this week, presenting results of the final report of the Delaware Justice Reinvestment Task Force to the Joint Judiciary Committee of the Delaware General Assembly, and meeting—along with several task force members—with Governor Jack Markell to discuss recommendations and potential legislation. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative is a federal project sponsored by the U....

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