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.  

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This is the first in a four-part series discussing findings from The Anatomy of Discretion, a Vera Institute study of factors that influence prosecutors’ decisions in criminal cases. In this part, Professor Don Stemen talks with Vera Director Michael Jacobson about the study’s main findings. Stemen is author of numerous works on sentencing and corrections policies, sentencing guidelines, mandatory treatment for drug offenders, and racial disparities in prosecution and sentencing. In other podcasts in this series, a prosecutor discusses the effects of resource constraints; a federal judge discusses the balance between individualized treatment of defendants and consistency in decision making across similar cases; and a law professor discusses the balance between strength of evidence and other considerations.


Prosecuting attorneys enjoy exceptionally broad discretion in making decisions that influence criminal case outcomes. They make pivotal decisions throughout the life of a case with little public or judicial scrutiny. With support from the National Institute of Justice, the Vera Institute of Justice undertook research to better understand how prosecutors make decisions. Vera researchers combined statistical analyses with qualitative analyses, examining initial case screening and charging decisions, plea offers, sentence recommendations, and post-filing dismissals for multiple offense types in two moderately large prosecutors’ offices. In addition to a technical report, the study produced a summary report and four podcasts.


Reports  Podcasts
> Technical report > Interview with Don Stemen
> Summary report > Interview with Anne J. Swern
> Fact Sheet > Interview with Judge Theodore A. McKee
  > Interview with Anthony C. Thompson


This project was supported by Award No. 2009-IJ-CX-0040 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.


Vera Institute of Justice President and Director Michael Jacobson submitted written testimony to a hearing titled “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” held on December 12, 2012 by the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. Jacobson discusses the existing literature showing that zero-tolerance school discipline policies and the negative outcomes they engender by criminalizing even minor disciplinary infractions disproportionately affect minority students. And he describes research Vera launched in January 2012 to examine the connection between school disciplinary policies—in particular, those that approximate a zero-tolerance approach—and crime and delinquency outcomes among youth exposed to them.


Just 'Cause is the quarterly newsletter of the Vera Institute of Justice and is produced by the Communications Department. This issue includes the following articles:

  • "Translating Stop, Question, and Frisk Numbers into Neighborhood Impact," by Melissa Cipollone; 
  • "Cracking the Case on How Prosecutors Think," by Alice Chasan;
  • From Vera's Director: "Research Yields Surprises and Solutions," by Michael Jacobson;
  • Harold Hongju Koh Delivers Vera's 2012 Justice Address;
  • Investing in Justice: Vera's Seventh Annual Benefit;
  • Q&A with Jim Parsons, director of the Substance Use and Mental Health Program, interview by Alice Chasan; 
  • News & Events; Alumna Profile: Fiza Quraishi;
  • Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series

Michael Jacobson, director and president of the Vera Institute of Justice, and Laura Negrón, director of Vera’s Guardianship Project, talk about the project’s groundbreaking holistic approach to guardianship services for older adults and people with disabilities who have been adjudicated by the court as incapacitated. Watch the video and learn how The Guardianship Project works to ensure more justice for people in need of guardians and saves New York’s taxpayers Medicaid dollars.


Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, delivered Vera's 2012 Justice Address on November 8, at The Paley Center for Media in New York City. Koh, a leading expert on international law, spoke about the history of international criminal justice from Nuremberg to the present. John Savarese, chair of Vera's Board of Trustees, presented Koh with the Vera Institute of Justice Commemorative Award. Vera's Justice Address features a prominent national figure who explores important criminal and social justice issues of our time. Previous speakers include Nicholas deB Katzenbach, James B. Comey, and Eric H. Holder, Jr.


Today, approximately 40 million foreign-born people live in the United States, seven million of whom arrived within the past eight years. Because very little is known about how most police agencies nationwide work with immigrant communities, in 2010, Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to identify and disseminate information on law enforcement practices that cultivate trust and collaboration with immigrant communities and merit replication. Staff from Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice solicited information from more than 1,000 agencies in jurisdictions with large immigrant populations and evaluated nearly 200 agencies’ practices. The resulting multimedia resource—report, toolkit, podcasts— features the efforts of 10 law enforcement agencies of different sizes, capacities, and circumstances. Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities is a practical, field-informed guide for community policing professionals seeking to begin or build upon their work with immigrant communities and immigrant community leaders looking to collaborate effectively with law enforcement.


Performance incentive funding (PIF) programs financially reward community corrections agencies and local jurisdictions with a share of state savings for delivering better outcomes, including sending fewer offenders to prison, through the use of evidence-based practices. Highlighted in Vera’s report are lessons learned by the states that have already enacted PIF legislation and the key considerations policymakers need to take into account when designing and implementing their own PIF program. For more information, visit PIF resources by state and PIF bibliography on Vera’s website.


Vera’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program partnered with the New York City Department of Correction to design methods for identifying people in the city’s jail system who were most in need of services to prepare them for reentry into the community. The result was the creation of the Service Priority Indicator—a simple screening tool for targeting reentry services that uses administrative data held by the jail to identify people who are at greatest risk of being rearrested and returned to jail custody upon release.


On September 24, 2012 Vera held its seventh annual benefit, honoring Rodney O. Martin, Jr., CEO of ING U.S. as corporate honoree, and Vera Trustee Richard G. Dudley, Jr., MD as public service honoree.

The theme of the evening, "Investing in Justice," highlighted Vera's approach toward cost-effective justice system reforms that save taxpayers money while ensuring greater public safety. This idea is captured in the video through the work of Vera's Cost-Benefit Analysis Unit, The Guardianship Project, and the Center for Economic Employment, a Vera spinoff.