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

Rethinking Restrictive Housing

The Vera Institute of Justice partnered with five prison and jail systems to assess how they use restrictive housing—also known as segregation or solitary confinement—in their facilities and to recommend ways to safely reduce that use. This report presents highlights of Vera’s findings and recommendations for ways these systems (and others motivated to reform) can reduce their use of restrictive housing and employ safe, effective alternatives. It also provides updates on the progress these systems have made to date.

Special Report
  • Léon Digard, Sara Sullivan, Elena Vanko
May 23, 2018
Special Report

Rethinking Restrictive Housing

Lessons from Five U.S. Jail and Prison Systems

In recent years, the practice of restrictive housing (otherwise known as solitary confinement or segregation) in U.S. prisons and jails has been the subject of increased scrutiny from researchers, advocates, policymakers, media, and the government agencies responsible for people who are incarcerated. Originally intended to manage people who committ...

Publication
  • Sara Sullivan, Léon Digard, Elena Vanko
May 01, 2018
Publication

Divided Justice

Trends in Black and White Jail Incarceration 1990-2013

Recent data analyses on jail incarceration—taken from Vera’s Incarceration Trends tool—reveal that although significant racial disparities still exist between black and white jail incarceration rates, incarceration rates for black people are declining, while rates for white people are rising. This report dives into the data on black and white incar...

Publication
  • Ram Subramanian, Kristi Riley, Chris Mai
February 25, 2018
Publication

Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative

Findings and Recommendations in Five Jurisdictions

After decades of misuse and overuse, the role of solitary confinement in United States jails and prisons is now being addressed. In recent years, this practice—also known as restrictive housing or segregation—has been the subject of increased scrutiny from researchers, advocates, policymakers, media, and the government agencies responsible for peop...

Publication
  • Vedan Anthony-North, David Cloud, Léon Digard, Allison Hastings, Jacob Kang-Brown, Jessi LaChance, Stephen Roberts, Sara Sullivan, Elena Vanko, Jessa Wilcox
December 20, 2017
Publication

Series: Addressing the Overuse of Segregation in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Momentum Builds in 2017 to Reduce the Use of Solitary Confinement

The path continued when Vera launched its Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative, generously funded by the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, in 2015. Numerous states and counties applied to partner with us and examine their practices with an aim to reform. Details of what we learned is outlined in the five...

Blog Post
  • Sara Sullivan
    Sara Sullivan
  • Mary Crowley
    Mary Crowley
December 20, 2017
Blog Post

Report to Tulsa County Stakeholders on Jail Reduction Strategies

Like many counties across the country, Tulsa County, Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic increase in its jail population over the past five decades, with the per capita jail incarceration rate growing nearly 200 percent between 1970 and 2016. In response to concerns about the continued growth of the jail population, its costs to taxpayers, and impa...

Publication
  • Nancy Fishman, Rebecca Silber, Kelsey Reid, Stephen Roberts, Navena Chaitoo
December 14, 2017
Publication

Aging Out

Using Compassionate Release to Address the Growth of Aging and Infirm Prison Populations

Developing effective policies and practices to respond to elderly and infirm prison populations is a critical issue for all state corrections departments, which are facing a growing number of older people in prison and the associated costs of medical care. Through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), some states are working to expand a policy...

Publication
  • Rebecca Silber, Alison Shames, Kelsey Reid
December 11, 2017
Publication

A Path to Recovery

Treating Opioid Use in West Virginia's Criminal Justice System

In the United States, a disproportionate number of people who come into contact with the criminal justice system suffer from opioid use disorder. Key to confronting the opioid epidemic and related deaths is expanding access to a range of treatment options, including all forms of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This report looks at how one stat...

Publication
  • Ram Subramanian, Alison Shames
November 20, 2017
Publication