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.
|from the INCARCERATION TRENDS project|
The number of people diagnosed with serious mental illness in the U.S. criminal justice system has reached unprecedented levels. Increasingly, people recognize that the justice system is no substitute for a well-functioning community mental health system. Although a range of targeted interventions have emerged over the past two decades, existing approaches have done little to reduce the overall number of incarcerated people with serious mental illness. This report, modeled on promising approaches in the mental health field to people experiencing a first episode of psychosis, outlines a new integrated framework that encourages the mental health and criminal justice fields to collaborate on developing programs based on early intervention, an understanding of the social determinants that underlie ill health and criminal justice involvement, and recovery-oriented treatment.
In 2015, the United States Department of Education announced the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, aimed at supporting postsecondary education programs for people in prison. This program restores eligibility for Pell grants to students in state and federal prisons for the first time since it was eliminated by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. To support the implementation of new partnerships and strengthen existing ones between colleges and corrections agencies, this fact sheet shares lessons learned from the development and implementation of Vera’s Unlocking Potential: Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education national demonstration project, launched in 2012. The lessons in this fact sheet are grouped into three broad areas: developing college-corrections partnerships, ensuring quality in postsecondary education programs, and supporting education post-release. Additional resources can be found on Vera’s Expanding Access to Postsecondary Education online resource center.
This is the final report of the Governor’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism issued in September 2015. It contains consensus recommendations of the Task Force for the consideration of Governor Haslam.
Although jails are the “front door” to mass incarceration, there is not enough data for justice system stakeholders and others to understand how their jail is being used and how it compares with others.
To address this issue, Vera researchers developed a data tool that includes the jail population and jail incarceration rate for every U.S. county that uses a local jail. Researchers merged jail data from two federal data collections—the Bureau of Justice Statistics Annual Survey of Jails and Census of Jails—and incorporated demographic data from the U.S. Census.
The data revealed that, since 1970, the number of people held in jail has increased from 157,000 to 690,000 in 2014—a more than four-fold increase nationwide, with growth rates highest in the smallest counties. This data also reveals wide variation in incarceration rates and racial disparities among jurisdictions of similar size and thus underlines an essential point: The number of people in jail is largely the result of choices made by policymakers and others in the justice system. The Incarceration Trends tool provides any jurisdiction with the appetite for change the opportunity to better understand its history of jail use and measure its progress toward decarceration.
Take a tour of the data tool with Chris Henrichson, who leads the Incarceration Trends project:
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.