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Apr 4, 2014 It’s been more than ten years since Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and in February, the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center became the first juvenile facility—and one of the first correctional facilities of any kind—to be certified as PREA compliant. On April 17, Vera will deliver a webinar on the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center’s audit experience. The webinar will feature PREA Resource Center Co-Director (and Vera...

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Apr 4, 2014 When friends and family who work in different fields ask me to describe Vera’s work in youth justice, they are inevitably perplexed when I first mention our status offense reform efforts. “Status offenses? Never heard of them.” But if I go on to describe what falls under that heading, the conversation gets interesting. People are shocked to learn how frequently children are locked in secure detention facilities for skipping school, running away, or...

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Apr 1, 2014 The Obama administration released its budget for fiscal year 2015 earlier this month, and as reported by the National Council on Aging, it contains several changes to how programs affecting seniors are funded, ranging from Medicare adjustments to cuts in Social Security wait times. Many of these initiatives are welcome: a proposed $56.5 million increase to Section 202 housing and a $15 million increase to programs that offer home finance-related counseling...
Mar 28, 2014 An upturn in violence at New York City’s Rikers Island Jail has been the focus of recent media attention, most notably in the February death of veteran Jerome Murdough in an overheated cell and the arrest of a correction officer charged in the August 2012 death of another inmate with a history of psychiatric needs detained in the jail. Mayor Bill de Blasio has subsequently promised reform at Rikers Island, one of the nation’s largest jails at a capacity...

Mar 14, 2014 Last month, President Obama introduced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which brings together government, business, philanthropy, the faith community, nonprofits, and others to work together to create more pathways to success for young men of color. The President spoke of current racial disparities and their historical roots, saying, “The plain fact is, there are some Americans who in the aggregate are consistently doing worse in our society....

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Mar 6, 2014 Last week, in a joyous yet sobering White House East Room meeting, President Obama announced a long awaited initiative—My Brother’s Keeper—intended to improve opportunities and life outcomes for young African American  men and, by extension, our communities. He was flanked by some of these young men who would benefit and a cast of philanthropic leaders.   As someone who has dedicated the entirety of his professional career to improving the fate of young...
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Mar 3, 2014 In January, the United States Department of Education released a report offering guidance on improving school climate and discipline. The report responds to the pressing need to reform zero tolerance school discipline policies and develop alternative models for improving school safety in order to build more positive school environments, which encourage academic achievement and support success for all students. Since the release of the report, discussion...

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