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While Announcing Landmark Reforms, Cuomo Highlights Further Need for Justice Reform Across New York State

Across New York, momentum is building to end mass incarceration. Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his State of the State address that he will propose the elimination of cash bail in certain cases, as well as several other criminal justice reforms—including speedy trial and improved due process—during the 2018 legislative session.  Here...

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  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
January 04, 2018
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  • Vera Staff
    Vera Staff
January 18, 2018

Alaska Moves to Eliminate Cash Bail

The State of Alaska moved this year to eliminate cash bail and implement a risk-based system for pretrial incarceration.  According to a new state law, which went into effect on January 1, people will no longer be held in jail simply because they’re too poor t...

  • Jack Duran
    Jack Duran
January 16, 2018

Cuomo Outlines Plans to Bring ‘More Perfect Justice’ to New York

Accused of stealing a backpack, 16-year-old Kalief Browder spent three years incarcerated in New York City’s Rikers Island jail, waiting for a trial that never happened. Too poor to pay the bail set in his case, Browder became the victim of a justice system th...

  • Jim Parsons
    Jim Parsons
  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
January 05, 2018

Tougher Drug Law Enforcement Does Not Increase Public Safety

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo yesterday reversing an Obama-era policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the drug. This announcement is a continuation of the “tough-on-crime” ...

  • Sara Sullivan
    Sara Sullivan
  • Mary Crowley
    Mary Crowley
December 20, 2017

Series: Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Momentum Builds in 2017 to Reduce the Use of Solitary Confinement

In a year that many were concerned would bring a more punitive approach to criminal justice, a growing number of correctional leaders in states both red and blue, working with Vera as part of our Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative (SAS Initiative), jo...

  • Susan  DeMaio
    Susan DeMaio
November 27, 2017

The Question of Guardianship: How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

An October 2017 article in the New Yorker, “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights,” tells the under-reported story of how guardianship practices without safeguards can lead to an institutionalized system of abuse, rather than protection, for the vulnerable senior ...

  • Olive  Lu
    Olive Lu
November 10, 2017

Large Cities Drive Nationwide Jail Population Decline; Jails in Most Rural Counties Still Growing

After more than four decades of continuous growth, the U.S. jail population has been on the decline since 2008.  In 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, the average daily jail population declined yet again, slightly, by 2.4 percent. The Vera...

  • Navena Chaitoo
    Navena Chaitoo
November 07, 2017

Getting to 5,000: New tracking app helps keep tabs on the New York City jail population

On any given day, about 9,200 men and women are held in New York City’s jails.  Most of them are housed on Rikers Island, which is notorious for its deplorable conditions and history of violence. The mayor, the city council, and the Independent Commission on N...

  • Karina Schroeder
    Karina Schroeder
  • Kevin  Keenan
    Kevin Keenan
November 06, 2017

More States Are Restoring Voting Rights for Formerly Incarcerated People, and That’s a Very Good Thing

This Election Day, Americans will go to the polls to cast their votes and make their voices heard. But not everyone will be able to vote. Thousands of people who want to vote will be denied this right because of their criminal histories. While laws differ from...

  • Cymone  Fuller
    Cymone Fuller
  • Ja’Vaune Jackson
    Ja’Vaune Jackson
October 30, 2017

Without Youth Voices, There Can Be No Youth Justice

“The system has always treated youth and families as the problem, but without getting to know us, our families, and our situations, they won’t be able to figure out the right solutions.” —Ja’Vaune Jackson, member of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice ...

  • Hayne Yoon
    Hayne Yoon
October 27, 2017

To End Opioid Crisis, We Must Rely on More than "Just Say No"

Yesterday, a national public health emergency was declared as a response to the opioid crisis that is ravaging communities across the country.  Between 1999 and 2015, the number of opioid deaths in the U.S. quadrupled, and 2016 saw a new record of 33,000 opioi...

  • Matthew Lowen
    Matthew Lowen
October 23, 2017

Series: Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Oprah Spotlights Solitary Confinement as Movement to Rethink its Use Picks Up Steam

“Why does an inmate deserve hope?” Sitting in a now-empty pod of Secure Housing Unit (SHU) cells—perhaps better known as solitary confinement cells—inside California’s infamous Pelican Bay Prison, Oprah Winfrey asks this question of California Corrections Secr...

  • Lindsay Rosenthal
    Lindsay Rosenthal
October 20, 2017

Making Space for Girls

In 2016, a sixteen-year old black girl named Gynnya McMillen died in the cell of a Kentucky juvenile detention center, after officers forcibly restrained her to remove her hoodie.  Unlike Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, who rightly became househ...