August 2012

Aug 22, 2012 On August 10, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sent a letter of finding to Mississippi’s governor and attorney general, as well as to Lauderale County officials and to the mayor of the city of Meridian, alleging—based on an eight-month investigation—that Meridian is operating a school-to-prison pipeline that incarcerates students for minor infractions of school rules such as dress code violations and profanity.  According to a Department of Justice press release...
Aug 21, 2012 By Joel Levy The Laura and John Arnold Foundation recently launched its Giving Library website. The site is an innovative way to provide information about hundreds of nonprofit organizations in easily digestible video formats. Philanthropists may also communicate directly with participating nonprofit organizations through the Giving Library’s Connection Center. The Vera Institute of Justice is featured on the site through an interview with Michael Jacobson, the Institute’s...
Aug 20, 2012 Millions of people each year complete their sentences. With so many affected, the consequences of a criminal sentence can be far reaching and long lasting. Indeed, it is often collateral consequences—civil sanctions that are triggered by a criminal conviction but are not part of the sentence imposed by the judge—that prove most damaging for people with criminal records and their families. Common collateral consequences include: loss or denial of professional/vocational license and...
Aug 17, 2012 This is the first in a three-part series Washington State is seeing success with a groundbreaking alternative to incarceration for parents who are in prison or facing prison time. It has reduced the average daily prison population, provided offenders with an incentive to not commit new crimes, and has reduced duplication of services by state agencies. The Parenting Sentencing Alternative has two components: the Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) and the Community...
Aug 15, 2012 On August 8, Suzi Agha, Christine Leonard, and I attended the signing ceremony for Delaware Senate Bill 226, landmark justice reinvestment legislation aimed at improving public safety and ensuring corrections dollars are spent wisely. We were particularly happy to mark this important occasion in the company of Democratic and Republican legislators, law enforcement and corrections agency leadership, officials from the judicial branch, and community advocates from across the state....
Aug 8, 2012 By Talia Sandwick, SUMH research analyst On July 26, Vera’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) published a new report on the mental health needs of people arrested in the District of Columbia. The report, Closing the Gap: Using Criminal Justice and Public Health Data to Improve the Identification of Mental Illness, contains the findings of a two-year SUMH research project. Using an unprecedented combined dataset from four criminal justice agencies and the DC Department...
Aug 7, 2012 Each year around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, newspapers typically run human interest articles about prison visiting programs that help connect children with their incarcerated parents. In California, for example, the Get on the Bus program facilitates such visits. Beyond the heartwarming human interest inherent in these efforts, however, there are important social and public safety implications for fostering family connections: as research has shown, prison visitation not only...

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