Think Justice Blog

Target 2020

Justice Solutions for a New Decade

The 2020 election cycle offers a unique inroad to achieve monumental justice reform policy. Now more than ever, voters around the country and across the political spectrum recognize that gross inequities and failed policies are significant features of the American criminal-legal system. They want to see meaningful policy proposals that tackle and remedy those problems. Rather than incremental steps, we need a bold approach: ideas for reform should move us toward decarceration; address and dismantle the harm done by the War on Drugs/tough-on-crime era, especially for communities of color; center the voices of justice-involved individuals; and be rooted in human dignity.

At the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), we are committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities. That is why Vera has created this blog series: to share the solutions & policy recommendations that we believe will provide fundamental change to a variety of issue areas, such as expanding access to counsel, creating alternatives to money bail, transforming conditions of confinement, and much more.

All Posts

  • Kristi Lowe
    Kristi Lowe
  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
July 07, 2020

Series: Target 2020

Data-Backed Outrage: Police Violence by the Numbers

The United States and its thousands of law enforcement agencies have a historic opportunity to end our nation’s crisis of over-enforcement and over-criminalization. The worst abuses in policing—including killings of unarmed civilians—disproportionately affect ...

  • Hayne Yoon
    Hayne Yoon
  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
June 17, 2020

Series: Target 2020

The Party Platforms Must Address the Urgent Need to Transform American Criminal Justice

The 2020 Democratic and Republican party platforms offer a unique opportunity to address some of the most pressing justice issues that face communities across the United States—from major urban hubs to small- and medium-sized cities to struggling rural areas i ...

  • Christian Henrichson
    Christian Henrichson
  • Oliver Hinds
    Oliver Hinds
April 08, 2020

Series: Covid-19

Use this Data to Hold Your Local Jail Accountable During the Pandemic

On Monday, America crossed the threshold of 10,000 deaths from COVID-19. As bad as things are on the outside, the pandemic pales in comparison with the horrors that are being faced by people behind bars right now. “Prisons are kill-boxes. Incarcerated people a ...

  • Jacob  Kang-Brown
    Jacob Kang-Brown
  • Jasmine Heiss
    Jasmine Heiss
April 01, 2020

Series: Covid-19

COVID-19 Imperils People in Rural Jails

People in jails and prisons are among the most at risk for contracting COVID-19—and rural America is home to a large number of prisons and crowded jails. As the number of COVID-19 deaths grows rapidly in rural counties, people who reside and work in jails are ...

  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
March 23, 2020

Series: Target 2020

Responding to COVID-19: Focusing on People in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Systems

As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, skyrocket in the United States, we are just beginning to see cases in jails, prisons, and immigration detention facilities. These populations are uniquely vulnerable because of the crowding typical ...

  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
January 27, 2020

Series: Target 2020

Getting Rid of Private Prisons Isn’t Enough

As the field of presidential nominees narrows, the candidates have been honing their policy recommendations. Across most issues, we’re seeing the shift from high-level talking points to more detailed, tangible ideas.

  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
January 09, 2020

Series: Target 2020

Federal Leadership Needed to Transform Conditions of Confinement

Six hundred thousand—that’s the approximate number of people in the United States who will return to their community from prison every year. Another way to look at it is that 95 percent of those who are currently incarcerated will be released. How then are pri ...

  • Krystin Roehl
    Krystin Roehl
  • Logan Schmidt
    Logan Schmidt
January 02, 2020

Series: Target 2020

The Shocking Lack of Due Process for Immigrants

After Mariana, a mother of three, was detained by ICE, she described the experience as “horrible, so, so stressful. . . . When I was first detained with ICE there were so many thoughts in my mind. . . . I was so, so stressed out . . . because I put my whole li ...

  • Micah  Haskell-Hoehl
    Micah Haskell-Hoehl
December 16, 2019

Series: Target 2020

Time for a New Federal Commitment on Rural Jail Incarceration

Across America, in rural communities and small cities, jail incarceration is rising at an alarming rate. We are learning more and more about the federal role in local jail growth. Yet this crisis at mass incarceration’s front door—local jails—has failed to cap ...

  • Nicholas Turner
    Nicholas Turner
November 25, 2019

Series: Target 2020

A Monumental Missed Opportunity for Criminal Justice

In this Democratic primary season, justice reform has been a prominently and refreshingly competitive topic. Conspicuously, during the debate, there was almost zero concrete or illuminating discussion of reforming or transforming the American criminal legal sy ...