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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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Dec 10, 2013 Starting in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will dramatically expand Medicaid eligibility to include all individuals with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level. For the first time, eligibility will be based solely on income, and no longer take into account factors such as age, gender, being a parent, and having a disability. This expansion of Medicaid is an option to states, and those that chose to participate will close the coverage...
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Dec 5, 2013 I’m thrilled to be writing my first Current Thinking blog post as Vera’s president and to reflect on some of Vera’s work this year and how closely it aligns with some unprecedented opportunities in criminal justice. When I returned to Vera this summer after almost seven years away, I came back to the organization where I had grown as a professional—the place I had grown to love. It is where I spent close to a decade shaping projects that provide treatment...
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Dec 4, 2013 Momentum continues to build nationally for ways to limit the reach of the juvenile justice system, relying less on court interventions and incarceration and more on safe and effective community-based options. This momentum makes the experience of youth who commit status offenses—a range of behaviors, such as running away from home, skipping school, or violating curfew, which are prohibited under law only because of an individual’s status as a minor—all the...

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Nov 26, 2013 As New York prepares for its first new mayor in 12 years,  a coalition of organizations hosted a series of discussions about the future of the city, called Talking Transition. This nonpartisan event was organized to provide a forum for ordinary New Yorkers to have their voices heard during the mayoral transition. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Program (NYIFUP), a pilot project administered by the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), was discussed at...

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Nov 18, 2013 Vital federal funding that supports a variety of crime-prevention strategies, treatment programs, and innovative initiatives in our communities has decreased by 43 percent since 2010, according to a recent survey conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) and National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA). The survey examines the impact those cuts have on essential programs and staffing levels across the nation. The second annual survey of state and...
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Oct 28, 2013 Someone was empowered to speak up. In New York City, home to what many claim to be the most opinionated voices in the country, we often take for granted that people will talk—that they’ll share their stories, scream out during an emergency, and tell it like it is. But in the case of “Baby Hope,” it took two decades for someone, an anonymous tipster, to speak up about a horrendous crime. Now that there’s finally an arrest in the 22-year-old cold case, law...

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