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.  

Latest Resources

07/02/2015

The Vera Institute of Justice served as the independent evaluator of the nation’s first social impact bond – an innovative form of pay-for-success contracting that leverages private funding to finance public services – to fund the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience (ABLE) for youth at Rikers Island. Vera employed a quasi-experimental design to determine whether participation in the ABLE program led to reductions in recidivism for youth passing through the jail. Vera determined that the program did not lead to a reduction in recidivism for program participants.

05/21/2015

Jails are far more expensive than previously understood, as significant jail expenditures—such as employee salaries and benefits, health care and education programs for incarcerated people, and general administration—are paid for by county or municipal general funds, and are not reflected in jail budgets. Drawing on surveys from 35 jail jurisdictions from 18 states, this report determined that even the jurisdictions themselves had difficulty pinning down the total cost of their local jail or jail system. It also highlights how the surest way to safely cut costs is to reduce the number of people who enter and stay in jails. In doing so, jurisdictions will be able to save resources and make the investments necessary to address the health and social service needs of their communities, which have for too long landed at the doorstep of their jails.

A new initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

 

05/12/2015

Segregated housing, commonly known as solitary confinement, is increasingly being recognized in the United States as a human rights issue. While the precise number of people held in segregated housing on any given day is not known with any certainty, estimates run to more than 80,000 in state and federal prisons—which is surely an undercount as these do not include people held in solitary confinement in jails, military facilities, immigration detention centers, or juvenile justice facilities. Evidence mounts that the practice produces many unwanted and harmful outcomes—for the mental and physical health of those placed in isolation, for the public safety of the communities to which most will return, and for the corrections budgets of jurisdictions that rely on it for facility safety. Yet solitary confinement remains a mainstay of prison management and control in the U.S. largely because many policymakers, corrections officials, and members of the general public still subscribe to some or all of the common misconceptions and misguided justifications addressed in this report. This publication is the first in a series on solitary confinement, its use and misuse, and ways to safely reduce it in our nation’s correctional facilities made possible in part by the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust.

05/04/2015

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.

Vera convened a panel of experts to discuss the disparities in our response to violence, which included Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Representative, Eight Congressional District of New York, and Kenneth Thompson, District Attorney, Brooklyn, Dr. Richard Dudley, Psychiatrist, New York City, and Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear, Professor of Applied Theology, Howard University School of Divinity. The panel was moderated by Kirsten Levingston, Program Officer, at the Ford Foundation.

For more information about addressing disparities in our response to violence, please download our issue brief.

04/07/2015

Incarcerated people at risk for sexual victimization need to be housed safely without losing access to programming, mental and medical health services, and group activities. The National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape emphasize that isolation be used to protect at-risk populations only when no other alternatives are available and all other options have been explored. To help agencies achieve compliance with these standards, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, in conjunction with the National PREA Resource Center, has developed guidelines to provide prison and jail administrators and staff with promising strategies for safely housing inmates at risk of sexual abuse without isolating them. This guide includes approaches for managing the housing of populations at particularly high risk for sexual abuse in confinement: women; youthful inmates in adult facilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) individuals; and people who are gender nonconforming.

03/20/2015

Increasingly, U.S. jails and prisons are the first chance for people with mental health and substance use problems to receive treatment. That population of justice-system-involved people tends to stay longer and return more frequently to corrections facilities. Yet the lack of communication between justice and public health systems has traditionally impeded the delivery and continuity of care. On September 17, 2014, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration convened a two-day conference aimed to identify what prevents communication between justice and health systems and to develop solutions for connecting community providers and correctional facilities using health information technology (HIT). These proceedings describe the sessions, outlining challenges to instituting HIT solutions for information sharing as well as examples of how HIT is facilitating connections between health and justice systems in several jurisdictions.
 

03/12/2015

To help local law enforcement agencies negotiate the cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, and language barriers that exist between them and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities, Vera has produced Uniting Communities Post-9/11. Funded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, this guide identifies barriers to effective community policing partnerships with AMEMSA communities and offers recommendations on building trust and mutually beneficial relationships that can aid in crime prevention and victims services. The guide’s content is distilled from Vera’s work with the local law enforcement agencies and AMEMSA community organizations in Piscataway, New Jersey; Anaheim, California; and Cleveland, Ohio.

03/03/2015

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.

02/11/2015

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 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.

 

01/28/2015

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.