We encourage you to explore Vera's extensive resource library, built up by decades of expert research, analysis, and real-world application. Vera produces a wide variety of resources about our work, including publications, podcasts, and videos, dating from our founding in 1961 to the present. You can search these resources using the filters below to sort by type of resource, project, or topic. Enter part of the title in the search box to look for a specific resource.
The numbers of blacks and Latinos involved in the U.S. criminal justice system is disproportionate to their numbers in the general population nationwide. These disparities in criminal case outcomes have increasingly caught the attention of scholars, journalists, and justice advocates, just as they have vexed prosecutors around the country. Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (PRJ) published this guide to help prosecutors examine whether the broad discretionary power they wield in case-processing decisions affects racially disparate outcomes. The guide, based on PRJ’s nine years of experience as research partner with a number of district attorneys, is designed to aid prosecutors seeking to conduct research into their offices’ work and address any problems contributing to racial disparity the research uncovers.
Local jails, which exist in nearly every town and city in America, are built to hold people deemed too dangerous to release pending trial or at high risk of flight. This, however, is no longer primarily what jails do or whom they hold, as people too poor to post bail languish there and racial disparities disproportionately impact communities of color. This report reviews existing research and data to take a deeper look at our nation’s misuse of local jails and to determine how we arrived at this point. It also highlights jurisdictions that have taken steps to mitigate negative consequences, all with the aim of informing local policymakers and their constituents who are interested in in reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and promoting stronger, healthier communities.
A new initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
Recent research suggests that Deaf women experience higher rates of sexual and domestic violence than their hearing counterparts, but are often shut off from victim services and supports that are ill-equipped to respond to their unique needs. As a result, they are denied access to services that could help them safely flee from abuse, heal from trauma, and seek justice after they have been harmed. This policy brief offers practical suggestions for expanding and enhancing Deaf survivors’ access to victim services and other supports.
Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on the topic of building trust and legitimacy between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, submitted on January 9, 2015 to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Turner discusses how trust between police and communities has been damaged by the ascendancy of policing strategies organized around arresting large numbers of people for low-level crimes and the wide-scale use of punitive interventions—such as stop, question, and frisk—and encourages police leadership to experiment with a philosophy of fewer arrests, summonses, and intrusions in the name of crime prevention.
In 2009, the latest in a series of reforms essentially dismantled New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of a range of felony drug charges and increasing eligibility for diversion to treatment. To study the impact of these reforms, Vera partnered with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University to examine the implementation of drug law reform and its impact on recidivism, racial disparities, and cost in New York City. The National Institute of Justice-funded study found that drug law reform, as it functioned in the city soon after the laws were passed, led to a 35 percent rise in the rate of diversion of eligible defendants to treatment. Although the use of diversion varied significantly among the city’s five boroughs, it was associated with reduced recidivism rates, and cut racial disparities in half.
To ensure that they deliver what they promise—and do so cost-effectively—social service providers that serve victims of sexual and domestic violence are beginning to recognize the benefits of evaluating their programs. Many service providers, however, embark on self-evaluations without the underlying infrastructure necessary to support evaluation. This guide helps these service providers assess their evaluation capacity and identify areas of strength, as well as areas for improvement.
In addition to the publication, Vera has created a resource hub on its website to provide domestic and sexual violence service providers with access to five webinars that explore a number of topics addressed in the guide and provide an inside look at how organizations have applied these lessons in the field.
Throughout the justice field, demand is growing for cost-benefit analysis (CBA), an economic tool that compares the costs of programs or policies with the benefits they produce. Although there is no one-size-fits-all template for conducting a CBA, analysts and researchers must follow a common methodology, or series of steps. This toolkit guides users through these steps and provides examples of Vera’s recent work advising six justice agencies that were either starting or enhancing their CBA efforts.
For millions of Americans, the legal and life-restricting consequences of a criminal conviction continue even after they’ve repaid their debt to society as barriers to voting, housing, jobs, education, and a raft of social services limit their ability to provide for their families and successfully reenter society. In recognition of the damaging effects these collateral consequences can have, 41 states have enacted legislation since 2009 that allows certain individuals to move beyond their convictions. This report reviews that legislative activity, discusses the limitations of current approaches, and offers recommendations to states and localities considering similar reforms.
Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. This issue brief aims to raise awareness of this large but often overlooked group of victims, and help foster efforts—both local and nationwide—to provide them with the compassionate support and services they need and deserve.
- Vera’s Unaccompanied Children Program has prepared a directory of legal service organizations that provide free or low-cost immigration legal assistance and representation for non-detained children in immigration proceedings. The directory, which is organized alphabetically by state, includes the types of legal assistance provided by each organization and the areas and immigration courts served.
- The Immigration Advocates Network and Pro Bono Net have created a website to help low-income immigrants find free or low-cost legal help. The website provides information about more than 900 nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states. The website allows searches for nonprofit legal services to be done by state, county, detention facility, languages spoken, types of legal and other services provided, and specific areas of legal assistance. It is available in English and Spanish. Not all of the organizations in this directory provide representation to children.