Think Justice Blog


Growing Momentum to Expand Access to Quality Postsecondary Education for People in Prison

Postsecondary education in prison cuts costs, which provides opportunities to reinvest in communities. “Safer communities” is another way of saying less crime and less taxpayer dollars spent on prisons. According to the findings of Vera’s 2015 “Price of Prisons” report, states spend upward of $45 billion a year incarcerating people, but continue to...

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  • Fred Patrick
    Fred Patrick
June 18, 2019
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  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
June 21, 2019

Confronting the True Harms of Money Injustice

Last week, we interviewed Alison Shih—co-author of Vera’s recent report Paid in Full—that highlights the landscape of money injustice in New Orleans, and provides a roadmap for how the city could become the first in the nation to eliminate both money bail and ...

  • Noella Byenkya
  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
June 20, 2019

Juneteenth Offers an Opportunity to Reflect on Past Injustices—and the Need to Continue Addressing Them Today

Yesterday, many Americans celebrated the holiday known as Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Africans and Black Americans on June 19th, 1865, when news of emancipation reached Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Junet...

  • Lauren Jones
    Lauren Jones
June 14, 2019

New York State Must Take Action to Reduce Opioid Overuse Deaths

For many people living with an opioid use disorder, the most dangerous time is the first two weeks after they return home from jail or prison. During that window, people are up to 129 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general population....

  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
June 13, 2019

New Orleans's Road Map to Eliminate Money Injustice

Yesterday, Vera New Orleans released Paid in Full, a report that draws a roadmap for how New Orleans could become the first city in the nation to completely eliminate the use of money bail and conviction fees. If implemented, this effort to eliminate money inj...

  • Peter J. Koutoujian
    Peter J. Koutoujian
May 24, 2019

How a Massachusetts County is Transforming Jail for Young Adults

I believe that a successful criminal justice system is one that, among other things, prepares people who are incarcerated for a successful reentry into the community.

  • Jackson Beck
    Jackson Beck
May 23, 2019

This Mental Health Month and Beyond, Collaboration Helps Police Serve Safely

People with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities are more likely to encounter police than get medical help when they’re in crisis. Lapses in communication—an individual in crisis struggling to understand an officer’s command, an officer misinterpret...

  • Megan  O'Toole
    Megan O'Toole
  • Mawia Khogali
    Mawia Khogali
April 30, 2019

Vera’s Policing Program Releases Seventh Volume of “Emerging Issues in American Policing” Quarterly Digest

Emerging Issues in American Policing is a quarterly digest tailored to practitioners and community members interested in policing. It is designed to elevate new and innovative research on policing practices and strategies by providing readers with succinct sum...

  • Logan Schmidt
April 18, 2019

For Many, Second Chance Pell Offers a First Chance Opportunity

April marks the start of Community College Month and Second Chance Month. Yet, for many who are incarcerated, access to education has been fraught with obstacles for too long. That may be changing. On April 4 and 5, the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) hosted...

  • Mahsa  Jafarian
    Mahsa Jafarian
April 16, 2019

Our 10-Year Strategy to End Girls’ Incarceration Nationwide

“In a lot of places, girls are treated very unfairly by systems. Most of the time they end up there because of things that happened to them such as trauma and abuse—things that were not their fault in the first place. We need to end girls' incarceration everyw...

  • Elizabeth  Swavola
    Elizabeth Swavola
March 29, 2019

More Progress is Needed to Recognize the Dignity of Incarcerated Women

As this Women’s History Month comes to a close, there are encouraging signs of a growing movement to uplift the dignity of women (including those who identify as LGBT/ GNC) who have come into conflict with the law. In New York, after a decade of tireless advo...

  • Christian Henrichson
    Christian Henrichson
March 27, 2019

Incarceration Trends: Complexity and Continuous Improvement

In 2015, we created the Incarceration Trends data tool to fill a critical gap: the lack of a comprehensive resource with historical jails data for every U.S. county. It was around this time that Vera decided to focus on jails as a way of addressing mass incar...

  • Lauren Jones
    Lauren Jones
March 13, 2019

Manafort’s Sentencing Highlights Problems in the Criminal Justice System—But Not In the Way Many Claim

There has been widespread outcry over Paul Manafort’s sentencing. Earlier today, Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Manafort to three and a half years in prison for two conspiracy charges. In another case last week, Judge T.S. Ellis III sentenced Manafort—con...