Closing mass incarceration’s front door

  • Vera helped New Orleans reduce its jail population by 70 percent over the last decade, and it’s now at its lowest point since 1979.
  • Using Vera’s research, two federal judges ruled that New Orleans using money bail, fines and fees to fund its justice system is an unconstitutional conflict of interest. The city now has an opportunity to become the first in the nation to eliminate money bail, fines and fees altogether.
  • Through an unlikely partnership with the owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, Vera helped that city reduce its jail population by 35 percent in three years.
  • Vera’s research, advocacy with government leaders, and partnership with activists helped encourage the New York State legislature to pass some of the most significant criminal justice reforms in the state in five decades.
  • Working with Vera, New York City lowered its rate of detention for girls in the juvenile justice system by 45 percent since 2015. Five more jurisdictions have joined the movement to end girls’ incarceration, and at least one is expected to reach zero girls in detention by 2020.

Transforming prisons

  • Inspired by Germany’s approach to incarceration, Vera partnered with the Connecticut Department of Corrections to radically transform conditions of confinement for incarcerated young adults aged 18-25. The program—called Restoring Promise—has since expanded to four correctional facilities in three states.
  • Working with the Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Experimental Sites Initiative, Vera is increasing access to postsecondary education in prison, and this success is being channeled into our nationwide campaign to repeal the ban on Pell grants for people in prison.

Securing equal justice, fairness, and safety for diverse, harmed communities

  • In response to the growing immigration crisis, Vera built a system of partnerships with local jurisdictions—the SAFE Network—that have committed public taxpayer dollars to legal representation for immigrants in their communities facing deportation. Compared to an immigrant without legal representation, an immigrant with a SAFE Network lawyer is more than ten times as likely to win their case against deportation.
  • Compiling decades of policing data from our nation’s 18,000 police departments into an easily accessible and searchable database, our Arrest Trends interactive data tool is shining a light on police overuse of enforcement and how that drives up our nation’s jail and prison populations.