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 Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB), a project of Vera’s Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit, convened a working group of researchers and policymakers to help advance the use of rigorous cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in decisions about criminal justice programs and policies. Input from the working group helped shape this white paper, which describes and discusses the main methodological challenges to performing CBAs of justice investments. This technical paper is intended for anyone who conducts, plans to conduct, or wants to learn how to conduct a CBA of a justice-related policy or program. CBKB will soon publish a second white paper for a broader audience, Using Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Policymaking, which was also developed with guidance from the working group.
Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on the human rights, fiscal, and public safety consequences of segregation (also known as solitary confinement or restricted housing) in prisons, jails, and detention centers throughout the United States submitted on February 25, 2014 to the United States Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. Drawing on the experience of Vera's Segregation Reduction Project, Turner recommends a series of concrete steps that jurisdictions can take now to curtail their over-reliance on this exceptionally costly and harsh form of incarceration. Turner concludes his testimony by calling on Congress to support reform by mandating and funding the collection of national data on segregation, a national study on its impact, and the development of national standards on its use.
Since 2000, at least 29 states have taken steps to roll back mandatory sentences, with 32 bills passed in just the last five years. Most legislative activity has focused on adjusting penalties for nonviolent drug offenses through the use of one or a combination of the following reform approaches: 1) expanding judicial discretion through the creation of so-called “safety value” provisions, 2) limiting automatic sentence enhancements, and 3) repealing or revising mandatory minimum sentences. In this policy report, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections summarizes state-level mandatory sentencing reforms since 2000, raises questions about their impact, and offers recommendations to jurisdictions considering similar efforts.
What will justice look like in the de Blasio era? Our Kids - Our Future is the first in a series of panel discussions convened by Vera to assess New York City's justice systems and proffer solutions for a new administration. This panel focuses on juvenile justice and the practices that can reduce young people’s contact with the system, while improving their life chances.
Panelists include Gladys Carrión, Commissioner, New York City Administration for Children’s Services; Vincent Schiraldi, Commissioner, New York City Department of Probation; Rukia Lumumba, Director of Youth Programs, CASES; and Hernan Carvente, Research Assistant, Vera Institute of Justice. The discussion is moderated by Kathleen Horan, Criminal Justice Reporter, WNYC.
Watch the full version of the event on YouTube.
Learn more about Vera's Justice in Transition-NYC series.
Zero tolerance discipline policies that mandate suspension or expulsion of students for misconduct have gained tremendous momentum over the past 25 years while also inviting deep controversy. With A Generation Later: What We’ve Learned about Zero Tolerance in Schools, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice looks at existing research about whether zero tolerance discipline policies make schools more orderly or safe, if out-of-school suspension or expulsion leads to greater involvement in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, and what effect these policies can have on a young person’s future. It concludes that, a generation after the rise of these policies and practices, neither schools nor young people have benefited. Fortunately, as described in the report, promising alternatives to zero tolerance can safely keep young people where they belong—in school.
Young people who run away from home, skip school, or engage in other risky behaviors that are only prohibited because of their age end up in courtrooms every year by the thousands. Responding to these cases, called “status offenses,” in the juvenile justice system can lead to punitive outcomes that are out of proportion to the young person’s actions and do nothing to assess or address the underlying circumstances at the root of this misbehavior. With From Courts to Communities: The Right Response to Truancy, Running Away, and Other Status Offenses, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, supported by funding from the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Resource Center Partnership, aims to raise awareness about status offenses and spur conversations about how to effectively handle these cases by offering promising examples of state and local reform.
In the summer of 2013, the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) and the Vera Institute of Justice conducted an informal nationwide online survey of 1,226 state and local criminal justice stakeholder organizations. The questionnaire’s purpose was to gather information from a wide range of jurisdictions about the impact of budget cuts, both already enacted and anticipated. This document is a summary of self-reported responses.
Germany and the Netherlands have significantly lower incarceration rates than the United States and make much greater use of non-custodial penalties, particularly for nonviolent crimes. In addition, conditions and practices within correctional facilities in these countries—grounded in the principle of “normalization” whereby life in prison is to resemble as much as possible life in the community—also differ markedly from the U.S. In February 2013—as part of the European-American Prison Project funded by the California-based Prison Law Office and managed by Vera—delegations of corrections and justice system leaders from Colorado, Georgia, and Pennsylvania together visited Germany and the Netherlands to tour prison facilities, speak with corrections officials and researchers, and interact with inmates. Although variations in the definitions of crimes, specific punishments, and recidivism limit the availability of comparable justice statistics, this report describes the considerably different approaches to sentencing and corrections these leaders observed in Europe and the impact this exposure has had (and continues to have) on the policy debate and practices in their home states. It also explores some of the project’s practical implications for reform efforts throughout the United States to reduce incarceration and improve conditions of confinement while maintaining public safety.
What is the impact of stop and frisk on young people in highly patrolled areas of New York City, and what does it mean for public safety? Find out in this video as lead authors, Jennifer Fratello and Andrés F. Rengifo, discuss the results of their study "Coming of Age with Stop and Frisk: Experiences, Self-Perceptions, and Public Safety Implications."