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.
Millions of medically vulnerable and socially marginalized people cycle through the criminal justice system each year due to serious structural problems entrenched in American society. The absence of a coherent and effective social safety net means that people lack access to physical and mental health care, social services, and housing options in their communities. This report, First Do No Harm: Advancing Public Health in Policing Practices, details the cultural divide among system actors that amplify and sustain these problems and offers recommendations on how law enforcement policymakers and practitioners—in collaboration with public health officials and harm reduction advocates—can enhance both public safety and community health.
Based on more than 10 years of experience working at the intersection of violence and disability, Vera‘s Center on Victimization and Safety developed a practical tool to meet the growing need for straightforward and cost-effective ways for disability organizations, domestic violence programs, rape crisis centers, and programs that address domestic and sexual violence to track their progress in serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence who have disabilities. Using performance indicators, this one-of-a-kind resource helps practitioners measure their organizations against field standards for serving survivors with disabilities, allowing them to capture point-in-time snapshots of their agency’s overall commitment and capacity in this area. It is also designed to help practitioners track progress towards specific goals and refine their capacity-building efforts to better meet those goals if used over time. These guides draws upon data and resources that these organizations typically have access to, without requiring previous knowledge of statistics or evaluation methods, and provides step-by-step information on implementation, including how to collect, analyze, and interpret data.
A significant number of children who enter Office of Refugee Resettlement custody do not speak English. Communicating with these children can be challenging for attorneys and other service providers. To respond to this need, Vera’s Unaccompanied Children Legal Services Program has produced three resources:
- Glossary of Legal Spanish - A bilingual (English-Spanish) glossary of terms covering a wide range of topics often featured in Know Your Rights presentations or used in the representation of unaccompanied children.
- Spotlight on Central American Spanish - A resource focusing on the regional varieties of Spanish spoken by unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, which may feature unique accents and phrases.
- Best Practices for Working with Interpreters - A resource outlining how to work with interpreters, either telephonic or in-person.
Future Now is a GED preparatory program housed at Bronx Community College offering programs tailored to meet each student’s personal and educational needs, prepare them for college, and support students through their first year of enrollment. Future Now’s individualized approach and commitment to building resilience in each student are core principles that guide this continuously evolving program as it seeks out new ways of increasing program retention, success, and college enrollment.
During the academic year 2013-2014, Vera conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews with Future Now students and staff and analyzed program data from Future Now and the City University of New York. Through these activities, Vera learned about students’ experiences and educational outcomes, and identified the core program components necessary for the program’s successful replication.
In 2008, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg issued an executive order establishing a government body dedicated to using state-of-the-art technology to integrate service delivery for vulnerable New Yorkers throughout health and human service (HHS) agencies. A key component of this initiative was the development of Worker Connect—a data integration system that allows provisioned city workers to view client information across multiple city agencies. Vera conducted a qualitative evaluation for the system, under contract with New York City’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), to understand how city agencies use Worker Connect and to explore user perceptions of the system. This brief reports on the main findings as they relate to data integration, integrated service delivery, and user experience.
In 2005, New Orleans detained more people in its local jail per capita than any other urban jurisdiction in the country. The jail—designed to hold people too great a risk to be released pretrial—was actually used to detain thousands of people too poor to pay a financial bond, with dramatic human and financial consequences. In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans officials and community leaders have begun to depart from this legacy of over incarceration, leading to a 70 percent reduction in New Orleans’s jail population. This report documents the groundbreaking reforms that the City of New Orleans has engaged in to safely decrease its use of detention, from reducing the physical size of its jail to implementing risk-based pretrial release practices. This text was originally published by the Data Center as part of a series of essays about New Orleans’s progress since Hurricane Katrina.
Our media, our culture, and even some of our statutes continually reinforce the idea that in order to be deserving of care, a victim of crime has to be “innocent.” However, this idea excludes a wide range of people from services and limits the options and resources available to those who survive serious harm. In this series from Vera’s Current Thinking blog, you’ll hear from service providers who have experience working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, young men of color harmed by street violence, LGBTQ survivors, survivors with disabilities, survivors engaged in sex work, survivors of human trafficking, and others. Together, these writers explore the limitations imposed by our existing framework of “innocence” and point to ways forward that better uphold the values of equity, public safety, and human dignity.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) established a federal commission to draft national standards that address sexual abuse in confinement settings. PREA also required the U.S. Attorney General to promulgate regulations based on the standards that apply to all federal, state, and local confinement settings, including juvenile detention, lockups, and community confinement. The federal PREA standards require agencies to take a number of steps to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse. Among those steps are making sure that incarcerated people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from all of the agency’s PREA efforts. Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for Incarcerated People with Disabilities: An Implementation Guide for Practitioners on the Adult and Juvenile Standards provides strategies to correctional agencies that will aid their compliance with these PREA requirements. The strategies discussed in this guide draw on established practices used by victim service organizations—both community-based and those based in government agencies—to make their services more accessible for this population. By offering concrete recommendations on how to adapt these community practices to correctional settings, this guide aims to help adult and juvenile correctional facilities increase accessibility for people with disabilities.
Close to one in five people detained in the New Orleans jail are waiting for a court date to resolve alleged violations of their probation or parole. Such detention affects more than 2,000 people a year and costs millions of dollars to taxpayers. Vera’s New Orleans office analyzed data from the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections to scrutinize the appropriateness of detention in these cases.
This issue brief and technical report, developed in partnership with DPS&C, measure the number of affected people, identify areas where detention could have been safely avoided, and recommend concrete practice changes to reduce detention where appropriate. The report provides concrete tools for system actors who make detention decisions and informs ongoing discussions about the size of the New Orleans jail population and the appropriate use of the city’s jail. The Issue Brief distills the report’s analysis and recommendations and places them in a national framework.
Stable housing is essential to supporting a formerly incarcerated person’s successful return to his or her community. Until recently, however, most public housing authorities throughout the country have prevented formerly incarcerated people from formally returning to their homes or living with family members in public housing. In response to this issue, cities such as New York City, Oakland, and Chicago have implemented reforms in tenant-selection criteria that ensure a person’s application for housing is not negatively impacted by his or her criminal record. This fact sheet serves as a resource for public housing authorities seeking to implement policies that ensure public safety while providing people with criminal histories the housing stability necessary to break cycles of incarceration and homelessness.