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Jan 24, 2014 Last week, the criminal and juvenile justice fields lost a great man. Alfred Siegel, deputy director of the Center for Court Innovation, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, January 16th. My colleagues and I at Vera’s Center on Youth Justice had the privilege of working closely with Alfred on a number of local and state juvenile justice reform efforts that aimed to safely and effectively reduce reliance on incarceration and improve the life chances of...

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Jan 9, 2014 People with limited capacity and serious medical needs often require guardians to help them navigate the many challenges surrounding health care decisions, finances, and housing. A recent incident in Scottsbluff, Nebraska shows how vulnerable these individuals can be to exploitation—even from the very people supposed to protect them. On November 25, 2013, a woman whose small business served as the legal guardian for more than 600 people was arrested. She...

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Jan 7, 2014 The Vera Institute of Justice is delighted that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Zachary W. Carter as Corporation Counsel for the City. A former U.S. Attorney, Mr. Carter has served on Vera’s Board of Directors since 1999. He resigned from the Board upon receiving the new appointment.   “Zach has been a wonderful, wise and insightful presence on Vera’s board,” said Nick Turner, Vera’s president and director. “The City and its residents are very...

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Jan 2, 2014 New York City is not immune to the nationwide epidemic of opioid prescription drug abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths. From 2000 to 2012, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids increased 222 percent citywide, and 10 percent of students in grades 7 to 12 surveyed in 2008 reported using these drugs recreationally. In addition, public health professionals are reporting evidence that some young people who develop dependency to prescription opioids...

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Dec 23, 2013 By now, you are likely aware of the fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. Perhaps you have also seen the video of the considerate 5-year-old girl who signed her kindergarten holiday concert so her Deaf parents could follow along. Both stories have received heavy media coverage, appearing in newspapers, on television newscasts, and on social media feeds. These stories may, at first, seem markedly different from one another; one...

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Dec 18, 2013 Since the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, people around the world have united to celebrate his life and all that he stood for. For those involved in the justice and education sector, Mandela’s fight for human rights, belief in educational opportunities for all, and unrelenting commitment to racial equality serve as an inspiration for our work. Throughout his life, both as an activist and as a role model, he provided his audience,...

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Dec 13, 2013 Every year, thousands of young people end up in courtrooms because they ran away from home, skipped school, or engaged in other risky behaviors that are not criminal in nature and only prohibited because of their ages. Responding to these cases, called “status offenses,” in court can lead to deeper juvenile justice system involvement, including detention or placement in a residential facility—outcomes that are out of proportion to the young person’s...

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