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

Series: Covid-19

In a Precarious Economy, Governments and Courts Must Take Immediate Action to Reduce Criminal Justice Fines and Fees

Fines and fees exist at every stage of the criminal justice process, from arrest and booking to conviction and sentencing. People can be ticketed for even minor infractions, charged to enter a jail, and then charged additional fees for each day they remain there. Even those serving non-jail sentences like probation or community service can be charg ...

Blog Post
  • Maria Rafael
    Maria Rafael
April 02, 2020
Blog Post

Understanding Law Enforcement Practice in Your Community: An Exploration of 911 Open Data Sets

This sort of analysis is just the tip of the iceberg, and we’ll be blogging about how best to use the data here. We’re expecting people to reach out so that they can ask more questions. We would love to start a conversation about how Vera and Two-Sigma can support your 911 data exploration in your city, and how you can use the data aggregation and ...

Blog Post
  • Frankie Wunschel
    Frankie Wunschel
February 21, 2020
Blog Post

The Arrest-Jail Admission Gap

Jail admission rates surpass arrest rates in small and rural counties

But why does this jail-arrest gap exist? First, it is important to acknowledge that differences in counties’ data collection, data sources, and documentation could have contributed to the gap. Federal statistics have some data gaps—not all arrests are reported in FBI statistics, and some jail admissions are missing in states that have city level pr ...

Blog Post
  • Abdul Rad
    Abdul Rad
  • Wenshu (Monica) Yang
    Wenshu (Monica) Yang
January 10, 2020
Blog Post

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