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.
In 2013, 35 states passed at least 85 bills to change some aspect of how their criminal justice systems address sentencing and corrections. In reviewing this legislative activity, the Vera Institute of Justice found that policy changes have focused mainly on the following five areas: reducing prison populations and costs; expanding or strengthening community-based corrections; implementing risk and needs assessments; supporting offender reentry into the community; and making better informed criminal justice policy through data-driven research and analysis. By providing concise summaries of representative legislation in each area, this report aims to be a practical guide for policymakers in other states and the federal government looking to enact similar changes in criminal justice policy.
Vera partnered with the District Attorney of New York to examine whether prosecutorial discretion contributes to racially and ethnically disparate outcomes in New York County criminal cases. In this video, Vera Research Director Jim Parsons discusses Race and Prosecution in New York County and its findings.
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In order to ensure the integrity of the justice system, it is essential that case outcomes do not disproportionately affect members of certain racial and ethnic groups—and that any disparities be identified so solutions can be developed. To that end, Vera partnered with the District Attorney of New York on an NIJ-funded study examining racial and ethnic disparities in criminal case outcomes in Manhattan. The two-year study, which analyzed more than 200,000 cases, focused on the role of prosecutors during several points of a criminal case—case acceptance for prosecution, dismissals, pretrial detention, plea bargaining, and sentencing recommendations—and whether prosecutorial discretion contributes to racially and ethnically disparate outcomes. While the best predictors of case outcomes were factors that directly pertained to legal aspects of a case—including the seriousness of the charge, the defendant’s prior record, and the offense type—the research also found that race remained a factor in case outcomes.
In this issue of The Guardian Reporter, the newsletter of Vera's Guardianship Project:
- Hear from our former project director Laura Negrón as she reflects on her tenure at the project, and from our interim director Olga Perez discussing what lies ahead.
- Find out how the project's unique, multidisciplinary team model—combining expertise in legal advocacy, financial analysis, and case management—helped return a client to the hospital after his unauthorized discharge, setting the stage for a move to assisted living, and helped another client when the pipes in his house exploded.
- Read about collaborations undertaken by project staff recently, including learning about emergency preparedness from the Red Cross and hosting an art exhibit and reception on elder abuse.
- Learn about hoarding, and the challenges it poses to effective case management.
- Examine new data on the overwhelming cost of unnecessary nursing home institutionalization in New York State and the cost savings possible through helping clients return to the community.
- See recent news out of Nebraska, where state auditors discovered extreme guardianship exploitation, and find out about the new, statewide public guardianship system the Nebraska government created in response.
Dr. Ingrid Binswanger, associate professor in Division of General and Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, speaks with Vera’s director of research, Jim Parsons, about the disproportionately high risk of death among people reentering the community from jail or prison upon their release. Dr. Binswanger’s research signals the need for better collaboration and communication between health and justice systems to improve continuity in care.
This interview is part of Vera's Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series.
The landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act made trafficking in persons a federal crime in 2000, but the greatest obstacle to rescuing victims of human trafficking is identifying them. To make identifying these people easier—and subsequently, getting them the services and support they need while also generating evidence against their traffickers—Vera created a screening tool to be used by victim service providers and law enforcement when faced with someone who may be a victim of human trafficking. The tool, a 30-topic questionnaire that was tested by service providers and validated by Vera researchers, is the result of a two-year study funded by the National Institute of Justice.
Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on law enforcement responses to individuals with disabilities and the potential for new approaches, submitted on April 29, 2014 to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. Addressing two primary concerns—the high rates of victimization against individuals with disabilities and the overrepresentation of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system—Turner outlines both the leading research and most promising programs in the field that can help ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to services and criminal justice interventions, and the mentally ill are safely diverted from entering the justice system.
Since 2009, more than 30 states have reformed existing drug laws and sentencing practices, passing nearly 50 bills in one or a combination of the following five areas: 1) mandatory penalties, 2) drug sentencing schemes, 3) early release mechanisms, 4) community-based sanctions, and 5) collateral consequences. In this report, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections summarizes each state-level legislative change.
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 helps readers know what to look for in a justice-related CBA, understand what cost-benefit results mean, and use those results to inform their decisions.
The paper was written for a broad range of readers, including elected officials and their staff; policymakers; corrections, community corrections, court, and law enforcement personnel; service providers; and journalists.
See also the related white paper, Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs, which discusses cost-benefit methods and 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.
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, accepts the Vera Institute of Justice's Public Service Award during Vera's 8th Annual Benefit held on April 8, 2014. Stevenson remarked on Vera's work to meet the challenges created by mass incarceration.