Neil Weiner, Vera’s former research director and senior fellow for research, evaluation, and policy, passed away in July 2009. Shortly before his passing, Neil helped create a research speaker series that has been named in his honor. The Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series invites prominent researchers to speak about their work on justice issues. For more information, please e-mail Chelsea Davis at


Wednesday, June 24, 2015, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Cynthia Lum
Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy and Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University

Daniel Nagin
Teresa and H. John Heinz III University Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

"Reinventing American Policing: A Seven Point Blueprint for the 21st Century"

June 11, 2015, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Mona Lynch, PhD
Professor in Criminology, Law and Society and, by courtesy, the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine.

"Drug deals in federal court: Plea negotiations as local practice"

July 16, 2015, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

John DeCarlo, PhD and Michael Jenkins, PhD
Dr. DeCarlo is an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. Dr. Michael J. Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Scranton.

"Policing Post-Ferguson"


Becky Pettit, PhD

Professor of sociology at the University of Texas-Austin.

"Civil Rights Legislation and Legalized Exclusion: Mass Incarceration and the Masking of Inequality"

Bernard Harcourt, JD, PhD
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia University, the Director of the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought, and directeur d’études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

"Rethinking Research Methods"


Jeffrey Fagan, PhD
Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University.

"No Runs, Few Hits, and Many Errors: Street Stops, Bias, and Proactive Policing"

Carla Shedd
Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Columbia University.

"Tracking the Carceral Continuum: The Case of Urban Youth"

Bruce Western
Professor of Sociology and Director of the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

"Leaving Prison as a Poverty Transition: Preliminary Results from the Boston Reentry Study"

Todd Clear
Dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University

"Is the Great American Punishment Experiment Over?"

Gregg Barak
Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Eastern Michigan University and the former Visiting Distinguished Professor in the College of Justice & Safety at Eastern Kentucky University

"Theft of a Nation: Why the Biggest Financial Crime in History was not Criminally Prosecuted by the United States"

Richard Gartner
Founding director of the Sexual Abuse Service at the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute

"Betrayed as Boys: Understanding the Aftereffects of Boyhood Sexual Abuse"

Phil Cook
ITT/Sanford professor of public policy, and professor of economics and sociology at Duke University
"The Role of Private Sector Action in Crime Control"

Tom Tyler
Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology 
Yale Law School

"Fairness or Toughness: How Should Societies Deal with Terrorism?"

Paul Anthony Braga
Professor at the School of Criminal Justice

"Reviewing the Evidence on the Effects of Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime"

David Kennedy
Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

"Preventing Serious Violence: Focus, Legitimacy, and Common Ground "


Series Highlights

Paul Light photo
Paul Light
Professor Paul  Light talks with Vera Director Michael Jacobson about the promise—and limits—of effecting social change in troubled economic times.

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Sudhir Venkatesh photo Sudhir Venkatesh
Professor Venkatesh talks with Vera Director Michael Jacobson about his 18 months advising the FBI on working with local law enforcement agencies to deal with gang-related crime.
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Saul Kassin photoSaul Kassin
Professor Kassin discussess his research on the remarkable phenomenon of false confessions in criminal investigations.
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