Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons
The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons—a national group of civic leaders, corrections administrators, scholars, advocates, police officers, religious community members, and former prisoners—authored this report following a year-long study of jail and prison conditions in the U.S. The Commission, finding high volumes of violence and abuse, offered numerous recommendations for improving safety and increasing accountability, including:
The Commission further discussed how these changes could have a significant impact on public safety and public health. Given that 95 percent of incarcerated people will eventually return home, it is within the public interest to improve conditions of confinement to promote rehabilitation and proper reentry into society. 10 years after the release of this report, Vera is revisiting the issues addressed along with others as part of its Reimagining Prison Initiative.
What happens inside jails and prisons does not stay inside jails and prisons. Formerly incarcerated people and corrections officers carry the effects of violence home to their families and communities. Reducing violence and improving safety and health behind bars is thus essential for the prosperity of all communities.
The U.S. incarcerates more people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. This bleeds correctional systems of resources that could be used for rehabilitation, not punishment.
We cannot allow anyone who is incarcerated to be victimized by other prisoners or corrections officers. Prisons and jails are part of the justice system, not apart from it.
While America’s correctional facilities are less turbulent and violent than they were decades ago, steady decreases in riots and homicides do not tell us about the larger universe of less-than-deadly violence in prison.
Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform
Jail in New York City: Evidence-Based Opportunities for Reform examines the key decision points within New York City’s criminal justice system that drive people into the jail. The report uses rich data on case processing, pretrial decision-making, bail decisions, and case disposition to understand how decision makers can impact the size of the jail...
It is extraordinary that in less than two years, many of those ideas became a reality in Connecticut. Over the past 9 months, Vera has been proud to partner with CT DOC to design and implement this pilot unit for incarcerated young adults 18 to 25. It changes the culture of corrections by drawing on lessons from American juvenile justice, internati...
Remembering Malar Balasubramanian, 1976 - 2017
While Malar will be remembered for her generous and infectious spirit, she also serves as a reminder that mental health can be a lifelong struggle. Understanding issues concerning suicide and mental health is an important way to take part in suicide prevention, help others in crisis, and change the conversation around suicide. If you see warning si...