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Feb 19, 2014 A bus with gated windows pulls over to the side of a dark, empty street on the outskirts of town. A man steps down to the curb with little beyond the faded clothes he is wearing and the five-dollar fare card in his pocket. “Good luck,” the bus driver says, and drives off, leaving the man alone at the street corner, wondering where he will stay the night.   For thousands of men and women returning home from incarceration each year, this scene is...
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Feb 14, 2014 Bipartisan support for criminal justice reform was strong at a symposium co-sponsored by Vera and The Leadership Conference Education Fund called “A Conversation on Criminal Justice: A Call to Action for the Nation.” The event, held at Georgetown Law School in Washington, DC on Tuesday, February 11, featured U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, members of Congress, and a panel of experts. “Now is the time to build a movement to end mass incarceration and...

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Feb 6, 2014 In his recent State of the State address, Delaware Governor Jack Markell laid out his criminal justice policy priorities for 2014, charting a path forward that would strengthen the Delaware justice system by piloting a pretrial supervision program, advancing judicial discretion, and removing barriers to reentry.     These efforts follow on 2012’s Justice Reinvestment Act (SB 226), legislation developed by the Delaware Justice Reinvestment Task Force, a...

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Feb 5, 2014 Robert W. Wilson died on December 23, 2013, and Vera and all those who find themselves involved with the criminal justice system have lost an amazing ally and supporter.    Robert Wilson, 87 at the time of his death, had made a fortune as founder of one of the early hedge funds. He ran it successfully for many years but was determined to give his fortune away. While he was widely known for his support of the arts, Mr. Wilson also cared deeply about the...

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Feb 3, 2014 Billions of dollars are spent in the U.S. every year to incarcerate the largest prison population in the world, and with corrections costs soaring, more and more states are embracing justice reinvestment, an approach to criminal justice intended to lower costs, reduce prison populations, and reinvest savings into policies and programs that provide a better return on public safety.    The Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections...

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Jan 28, 2014 Tonight, President Obama will speak to the nation in his State of the Union address about opportunity, action and optimism. When thinking about opportunity, and the many factors that stymie it, it is long past time to address harsh sentencing laws and obstacles in the path of those leaving prisons and jails that disproportionately affect minority communities. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994...
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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