New York State is a microcosm of the landscape of incarceration across our country. Large, urban areas like New York City carry the torch of justice reform—with a commitment to close the notorious jail complex at Rikers Island and further drive down crime. In contrast, rural, less populated parts of the state—in counties like Chautauqua and Clinton—are overlooked as potential sites for criminal justice innovation, despite having the highest rates of jail incarceration and the most pressing need for reform.

New York is experiencing a unique moment. Pretrial reform, declining crime rates, and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have dramatically decreased the state’s jail population—dropping in June 2020 to the lowest point at any time since at least 1997. In partnership with stakeholders and advocates, Vera is working across the state to help transform the criminal legal system. By targeting counties with the highest rates of incarceration—and those already well on their way to meaningful reform—Vera seeks to shape a statewide policy agenda and drive local conversations about decarceration and public safety in New York. By strengthening our partnerships and building on recent victories, Greater Justice New York will continue to invest in the policies and practices that promote fair and equal justice for all New Yorkers.

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As police respond to the current protests with more violence and arrests, bail funds have seen an outpouring of support—collectively raising upwards of $30 million from tens of thousands of donors across the country in a matter of days. Some bail funds, like the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and the Minneapolis Freedom Fund, have received so many do ...

Blog Post
  • Insha Rahman
    Insha Rahman
June 05, 2020
Blog Post