Current Thinking

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Apr 17, 2015 At a time when politicians and economists of every stripe and persuasion are decrying the lack of opportunity, wage stagnation, and growing income inequality that seem to characterize the United States in 2015, few seem to fully appreciate the mountain of state laws that ensure those facts remain for those Americans with a criminal record.   Despite recently proposed bipartisan federal legislation—such as the re-introduced REDEEM Act—that aims to remove...
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Apr 14, 2015 */ The Unlocking Potential: Perspectives on Education in Prison blog series—as part of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project—explores postsecondary education in prison and its benefits—during and after incarceration—through the unique experiences and insight of former students, educators, nonprofit leaders, corrections officials, reentry experts, and more. Doris Buffett is the founder of The Sunshine Lady Foundation, one of the...

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Apr 9, 2015 Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, in conjunction with the National PREA Resource Center—created under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act—has developed a new resource for correctional administrators and staff about housing at-risk individuals without the use of isolation. This guide, Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe Under PREA: Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails, will help agencies comply with the...

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Apr 2, 2015 */ The Police Perspectives: Building Community Trust blog series is part of Vera’s Police Connecting with Communities of Color project. The series explores the importance of—and provides guidance on how to build and enhance—positive relationships between law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities they serve. Dr. Lorie Fridell is a former director of research at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and now on faculty in the department of...

Apr 1, 2015 Last week, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) held a press conference to unveil its strategic plan to make Illinois communities safer and improve outcomes for justice-involved youth. I was honored to join Ryan Shanahan, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice research director, and our government and project partners in presenting the plan.   Last fall, IDJJ Director Candice Jones enlisted Vera and the Chicago-based Business and Professional People...
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Mar 30, 2015 For the past six months, we’ve used an anniversary—the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, better known as the Crime Bill—as an inflection point to examine our criminal justice system. The Justice in Focus: Crime Bill @ 20 multimedia initiative brought together nearly 30 distinct voices—from the White House to Sesame Street—to reflect on how we arrived at our current system, and where to go from here to...
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Mar 27, 2015 */ “Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis” is a powerful broadcast series about the intersection of poverty, mental health, and the criminal justice system by Cindy Rodriguez, of New York City’s public radio station WNYC. The Vera Institute of Justice is pleased to complement the broadcasts with a blog series that features the voices of experts from a range of fields as they examine how the intersection of poverty, mental health, and the...
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