Vera’s Substance Use and Mental Health Program (SUMH) conducts applied research to help public officials and community organizations develop empirically driven responses to the substance use and mental health needs of people involved in justice systems. SUMH staff collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data to examine the interaction between public health and justice systems and evaluate existing programs to understand the experiences of those affected by psychiatric disorders or substance use and policies that prolong their involvement in the justice system. 

Related Work

What Congress lifting the federal ban on needle exchange programming could mean for law enforcement

At the close of 2015, two Republican legislators, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led the charge to effectively lift the federal ban on providing operational support for syringe exchange programs (SEPs). Because of the increase in potential funding, such harm reduction programs will now further ex...

Blog Post
  • David Cloud
    David Cloud
  • Chelsea Davis
    Chelsea Davis
January 12, 2016
Blog Post

Bridging the Gap

Improving the Health of Justice-Involved People through Information Technology

Increasingly, U.S. jails and prisons are the first chance for people with mental health and substance use problems to receive treatment. That population of justice-system-involved people tends to stay longer and return more frequently to corrections facilities. Yet the lack of communication between justice and public health systems has traditionall...

Publication
  • Chelsea Davis, David Cloud
March 20, 2015
Publication

End of an Era?

The Impact of Drug Law Reform in New York City

In 2009, the latest in a series of reforms essentially dismantled New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of a range of felony drug charges and increasing eligibility for diversion to treatment. To study the impact of these reforms, Vera partnered with the John Jay College of Criminal Jus...

Publication
  • Jim Parsons, Qing Wei, Christian Henrichson, Ernest Drucker, Jennifer Trone
January 20, 2015
Publication