Vera's Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) works to drive change in the criminal justice system through research, practice innovation, testing new ideas, and policy development assistance to criminal justice practitioners at the local, state, and national level. The Center’s work focuses on developing and supporting balanced, fair and humane sentencing and corrections policies to reduce the overall use of incarceration; to transform the in-custody experience into one that can improve the lives of those incarcerated so that they return home to support their families and communities; and to ensure that prisons and jails are safe for those incarcerated and as well as those who work there. Most recently, CSC has embarked on Reimagining Prison, an ambitious 18-month initiative that aims to drive a national conversation on the purpose of incarceration and arrive at a truly transformative vision for jails and prison in an America that uses these institutions dramatically less than we currently do.

Related Work

Looking Beyond Conviction History

Recommendations for Public Housing Authority Admissions Policies

Safe, affordable housing is essential for the millions of people released from U.S. jails and prisons each year. But most public housing authorities (PHAs) have admissions policies that prevent formerly incarcerated people from living there. For nearly all types of convictions, housing authorities exercise their individual discretion to set eligibi ...

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  • Jacqueline Altamirano Marin, Erica Crew, Margaret diZerega
April 13, 2021
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Mapping U.S. Jails' Use of Restrictive Housing

Trends, disparities, and other forms of lockdown

The use of restrictive housing (solitary confinement) in U.S. prisons and the rationales for or against it have been the subject of widespread research and debate. Much less is known, however, about restrictive housing in U.S. jails, due to lack of standardized policies, limited data, and the rapid turnover of people detained. Furthermore, many jai ...

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  • Chase Montagnet, Jennifer Peirce, David Pitts
April 13, 2021
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Close the Atlanta City Detention Center and Deliver Long-term Public Safety

In September 2020, the City of Atlanta engaged the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) to chart a path to close the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC). Vera met with key justice system stakeholders, service providers, and community advocates; analyzed data; and brought to bear evidence and examples from across the country to develop a strategy to re ...

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  • Amy Cross, Elizabeth Swavola, Melvin Washington II, Sandhya Kajeepeta, Alex Boldin
March 01, 2021
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Brooklyn Public Library’s TeleStory Video Visitation Program

A Process Evaluation

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has taken on a number of functions adjacent to the formal criminal justice system, including reentry services and programs for the families of incarcerated people. One of those programs is TeleStory, an initiative by which families can use video equipment in the library to virtually visit a loved one who is incarce ...

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  • David Pitts, Lionel Smith
February 05, 2021
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The Cost of Incarceration in New York State

How Counties Outside New York City Can Reduce Jail Spending and Invest in Communities

Jail populations have fallen significantly across New York State, and crime has dropped as well. But spending on jails continues to climb. In 2019, the 57 counties outside New York City collectively spent more than $1.3 billion to staff and run their jails. Counties must cut jail spending and reinvest those savings in communities most impacted by ...

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  • Lauren Jones, Sandra van den Heuvel, Amanda Lawson
January 15, 2021
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