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Oct 23, 2014 Earlier this month, my colleague Ryan Shanahan and I represented Vera at the Aspen Institute Ascend Network’s ThinkXChange. This network, of which Vera is a member, connects 58 organizations from across the United States “to influence policy and practice changes that increase economic security, educational success, social capital, and health and well-being for children, parents, and...
Oct 17, 2014 Several weeks ago, I attended the memorial service for Eddie Ellis, who was, among many things (including a son, a father, a mentor, and a leader), a formerly incarcerated man and the founder of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. I first met Eddie in 2007, not long after he wrote his well-known “language letter.” Called “An Open Letter to...
Aug 19, 2014 More than 700,000 people leave jail and prison each year needing permanent housing. Studies have shown that obtaining permanent housing means that formerly incarcerated individuals are more likely to gain employment, maintain sobriety, complete parole supervision, and achieve the necessary stability to stay safely in the community. Many of the family members of these individuals live in public housing—a place where people with a criminal record are often...
Aug 7, 2014 In late June, the bipartisan House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Over-Criminalization examined the collateral consequences that an expanding federal penal code, the rapid addition of new regulatory crimes and violations, and harsh federal sentencing guidelines can have on the approximately 65 million Americans with a criminal record. At the center of this hearing was a report released in May by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (...
Jul 7, 2014 As director of public housing supportive services at HUD, Ron Ashford is an expert on a wide range of issues related to the reintegration of formerly incarcerated people back into society. Mr. Ashford discusses with Vera’s Family Justice Program efforts by HUD to disseminate research on recidivism and to highlight initiatives by a growing number of local public housing authorities around the country that are opening their doors to individuals with criminal...

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