All Research & Analysis

A Monumental Shift: Restoring Access to Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students

After 26-year ban lifts, incarcerated students can once again receive this federal financial aid

In December 2020, Congress lifted a 26-year ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students. The ban, enacted amid a slew of “tough-on-crime” policies in the 1990s, stripped people in prison of access to this federal financial aid. Incarcerated people earn pennies per hour for the work they do in prison, making it next to impossible for them to afford ...

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  • Juan Martinez-Hill
March 04, 2021
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Close the Atlanta City Detention Center and Deliver Long-term Public Safety

In September 2020, the City of Atlanta engaged the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) to chart a path to close the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC). Vera met with key justice system stakeholders, service providers, and community advocates; analyzed data; and brought to bear evidence and examples from across the country to develop a strategy to re ...

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  • Amy Cross, Elizabeth Swavola, Melvin Washington II, Sandhya Kajeepeta, Alex Boldin
March 01, 2021
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The Impact of New York Bail Reform on Statewide Jail Populations

A First Look

New York’s recent bail reform law, which was passed in April 2019 and amended on July 2, 2020, was expected to reduce the footprint of jail incarceration by limiting the use of money bail. The new law mandated pretrial release for the vast majority of nonviolent charges and required that judges consider a person’s ability to pay bail. A comprehensi ...

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  • Jaeok Kim, Quinn Hood, Elliot Connors
February 11, 2021
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A Federal Defender Service for Immigrants

Why We Need a Universal, Zealous, and Person-Centered Model

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) recommends that the Biden administration draw from time-tested models, data, and knowledge to build a federally funded, universal legal defense service that provides universal, zealous, and person-centered defense to all immigrants. This federal defender service should be modeled on the criminal federal defender ...

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  • Vera Institute of Justice
February 09, 2021
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Brooklyn Public Library’s TeleStory Video Visitation Program

A Process Evaluation

The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has taken on a number of functions adjacent to the formal criminal justice system, including reentry services and programs for the families of incarcerated people. One of those programs is TeleStory, an initiative by which families can use video equipment in the library to virtually visit a loved one who is incarce ...

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  • David Pitts, Lionel Smith
February 05, 2021
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Examining Organizational Change and Procedural Justice

An International Cross-Site Evaluation of Two Police Departments

The origins and ongoing practices of policing continue to have implications for public trust and perceptions of police legitimacy. Researchers and practitioners have attempted to apply theories of procedural and organizational justice to this issue. Organizational justice is the notion that how employees view their employers will affect the way pe ...

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January 19, 2021
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The Cost of Incarceration in New York State

How Counties Outside New York City Can Reduce Jail Spending and Invest in Communities

Jail populations have fallen significantly across New York State, and crime has dropped as well. But spending on jails continues to climb. In 2019, the 57 counties outside New York City collectively spent more than $1.3 billion to staff and run their jails. Counties must cut jail spending and reinvest those savings in communities most impacted by ...

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  • Lauren Jones, Sandra van den Heuvel, Amanda Lawson
January 15, 2021
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Building the Movement Summary

Advancing Universal Representation: A Toolkit for Advocates, Organizers, Legal Service Providers, and Policymakers

The movement for universal representation—the idea that every immigrant facing detention and deportation should have the right to a publicly funded lawyer if they cannot afford one—continues to gain significant momentum. As a result of local and state campaigns, more than 40 jurisdictions across the country now fund deportation defense programs. Wi ...

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January 14, 2021
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