In a moment of bipartisan support for reversing mass incarceration, this project, generously supported by Google.org as part of its Inclusion and Racial Justice work, dives deep into the surprising fact that most people behind bars in America are not in the biggest cities. It is driven by the realization that if we do not respond to the shifting geography of incarceration, national gains will be totally eroded by deepening problems in overlooked communities across the country.

To spark reform, Vera is advancing an ambitions research and communications agenda to inform the public dialogue, advance research, and guide change to justice policy and practice.

First, we are expanding our Incarceration Trends dataset to include all federally-collected data on prisons and jails at both the county and state level. With this comprehensive and easy-to-use dataset, policymakers and the public will be able to spot problems and track progress in a way what has never before been possible.

Second, we are conducting field research in small towns and cities across the country to learn why the most unlikely places now have the highest incarceration rates, and help craft solutions that can help these communities reduce their overreliance on prisons and jails.

Third, we are building public awareness and dialogue about the fiscal costs and human toll of incarceration, lifting up unheard perspectives, working with advocates to drive change, and engaging new cultural ambassadors in the call to reverse mass incarceration.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Jasmine Heiss, Director of Outreach and Public Affairs Strategist.