The use of data to inform policy and drive change is at the core of Vera’s approach to reform. Researchers based in each of Vera’s thematic centers and programs use a range of methods and approaches to address some of the most pressing justice issues of our time. Currently, Vera is conducting dozens of studies ranging from evaluations of legal services for unaccompanied migrant children, to research on the use of solitary confinement, to services for people with mental illness and substance use needs who are involved in justice systems. While the topics addressed by our research are wide-ranging, the common thread that runs through all of this work is a drive to use data to understand and address real-world problems that perpetuate disparity and limit the ability of vulnerable groups to access justice.

Related Work

A New Normal

Addressing Opioid Use through the Criminal Justice System

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths that cuts across economic, racial, and geographic boundaries. In the midst of this devastation, people are struggling to find ways to save the lives of their community members. While the “war on drugs” created tough enforcement policies that resulted in a bloated justice system, ...

Publication
  • Leah Pope, Chelsea Davis, David Cloud, Ayesha Delany-Brumsey
February 21, 2017
Publication

Past Due

Examining the Costs and Consequences of Charging for Justice in New Orleans

In 2015, government agencies in New Orleans collected $4.5 million in the form of bail, fines and fees from people involved in the criminal justice system and, by extension, from their families. Another $4.7 million was transferred from the pockets of residents to for-profit bail bond agents. These costs have become the subject of considerable publ...

Publication
  • Mathilde Laisne, Jon Wool, Christian Henrichson
January 09, 2017
Publication

Police and Communities Must Work Together to Support Victims of Hate Crimes

After the 2016 presidential election, unusually large numbers of children and adults all over the United States have reacted by expressing hate, bigotry, and racism, contrary to our best principles of equality. Hate crime has been unleashed—with swastikas painted in playgrounds and schoolyards, attacks on Muslim school girls and cries of “build the...

Blog Post
  • Laura Simich
    Laura Simich
  • Jacob  Kang-Brown
    Jacob Kang-Brown
December 20, 2016
Blog Post

Creating a Culture of Safety

Sentinel Event Reviews for Suicide and Self-Harm in Correctional Facilities

Since 2011, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), through its Sentinel Events Initiative, has been investigating the feasibility of using a sentinel events approach to review and learn from errors in the criminal justice system such as wrongful convictions, eyewitness misidentifications, or incidents of suicide and self-harm in custody. Recogniz...

Publication
  • Leah Pope, Ayesha Delany-Brumsey
December 16, 2016
Publication

Coming Home

An Evaluation of the New York City Housing Authority’s Family Reentry Pilot Program

Public housing authorities across the nation historically have barred many with criminal records from public housing residency. However, given evidence of the critical role stable housing and family reunification plays for people coming back to their communities from incarceration, some housing authorities are rethinking their practices. This repor...

Publication
  • John Bae, Margaret diZerega, Jacob Kang-Brown, Ryan Shanahan, Ram Subramanian
November 14, 2016
Publication

Young Adults in Rikers Island Jail

Evaluating a new approach to working with 18 to 21-year-olds on Rikers Island

The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) established a new facility—announced during the fall of 2015 and opened months later—to house 18-21 year olds at Rikers Island. The jail is the first in the country to create separate housing for these young adults, who are cognitively different from both their younger and older counterparts, and thu...

Project
  • Ryan Shanahan
    Ryan Shanahan
Project

A New Role for Technology

Video Visitation in Prison

Research shows that prison visitation is integral to the success of incarcerated people, reducing recidivism, facilitating their reentry into the community, and promoting positive parent-child relationships. However, people are often incarcerated long distances from their home communities in areas that are difficult to reach by public transport, cr...

Publication
  • Léon Digard, Margaret diZerega, Allon Yaroni, Joshua Rinaldi
March 02, 2016
Publication