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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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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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