Vera  is helping cities and counties around the country reduce their jail populations. Vera works collaboratively with county government, law enforcement, and community organizations to study their jail usage and population growth and to provide recommendations for safely reducing the population while creating more fair and effective local justice systems. We are currently working with three counties in Oklahoma—Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City), Tulsa County (Tulsa) and Rogers County (Claremore)—and Whatcom County (Bellingham) in Washington. In addition, Vera is also providing technical assistance to five sites—Shelby County (Memphis), Tenn.; Milwaukee County, Wisc.; Spokane County, Wash.; Mesa County (Grand Junction), Colo.; and Philadelphia County, Pa.—through the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge.

Project Objectives

  • Reduce jail populations

  • Make local justice systems more fair, equitable, and safe 

  • Build local models for jail reduction 

Key Fact

The number of people held in jails increased by more than 400% from 1970 to 2014.