Young Men of Color
Young men of color living in racially segregated, low-income communities are far more likely than any other group in America to be victims or perpetrators of violence—or both at different points in time. Shocking levels of gun violence in some cities are just the crest of a problem that arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment has failed to stem.
Seeking to break cycles of violence, Vera created Common Justice, NYC’s and the nation’s first victim services and alternative-to-incarceration program for felony-level violent crimes. Rooted in the principals of restorative justice, Common Justice brings together harmed and responsible parties in a voluntary process that promotes healing and accountability and prevents future violence. From the lessons learned, Common Justice launched Healing Works in 2015, a national learning collaborative.
Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm
Addressing Disparities in Our Responses to Violence
Despite growing recognition of the disproportionate rates of young men of color caught up in the criminal justice system, little recognition is given to the fact that young men of color are also more likely to be the victims of crime and violence. This issue brief details the lack of support available to young men of color who experience trauma, as...
Black Wounds Matter
The New Yorker explores crime survivors’ stake in justice reform
The Case for Diversion / Race and Justice in America
Danielle Sered, Director of Common Justice, with Scott Stossel, The Atlantic
Confronting Race and Justice in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Young Men of Color's Help-Seeking Following Violent Victimization
Getting help after experiencing violence is important for a person’s recovery process, but not everyone gets the help communities can provide. Young men of color are at heightened risk for being the victims of violence, especially robbery and physical assault. Therefore, they are disproportionately exposed to the negative consequences associated wi...
A national learning collaborative for people working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence and trauma.
Criminal background checks
A pretext for housing discrimination
“We’re very forgiving....a lot of things are explained by wrong place, wrong time.” That’s one of the many encouraging responses white tenants with criminal records heard from landlords, realtors, and other housing providers, according to a recent report by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC). Unfortunately, African Americ...
Series: Justice in Katrina's Wake
How pretrial services empower the underprivileged
The first time I was arrested was in 1994. I was five months pregnant with my youngest daughter when I was taken into custody and booked into Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). I spent three days in the booking center with only two cement blocks or the cement floor to sleep on. When I was transferred to the women’s tier, they held me for 60 days on attem...
Series: Gender and Justice in America
Reproductive justice should be included in reform efforts
After decades of mass incarceration, policymakers around the country are realizing the unintended consequences of using the criminal justice system to deal with the social and public health problems of homelessness, drug use, mental illness, and poverty. Despite the advances of criminal justice reform, however, there are increasing efforts to crimi...
Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm
Addressing Disparities in Our Response to Violence
Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. Vera convene...
Series: My Brother's Keeper
My Brother's Keeper: Integrating responses to victims and defendants
The recently released My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report to the President includes a section on “reducing violence and providing a second chance,” which begins by saying, “On the path to adulthood, youth may fall victim to violence or experience an interaction with the criminal justice system that permanently alters their trajectory for the wors...
Success of "My Brother's Keeper" will rely on removing racial disparities from our criminal justice system
Last month, President Obama introduced a new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” which brings together government, business, philanthropy, the faith community, nonprofits, and others to work together to create more pathways to success for young men of color. The President spoke of current racial disparities and their historical roots, saying, “The p...
Safety and the eye of the beholder
As violent crime rates continue to decline nationally, they have remained comparatively high in Chicago. Overall, reductions in violent crime in Chicago have been modest—dropping 9 percent from 2009 to 2010. That’s why the city’s recent 32 percent drop in homicide rates caught the national media’s attention in June. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel attr...
Supreme Court: Recognizing plea bargaining as the norm
In two companion cases last week, the U.S. Supreme Court held that criminal defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations. The impact of this finding is far from clear; however, it is likely to create confusion among lower courts and raise questions about how to fund this newly expanded interpre...
Guest blogger Christopher Wildeman on the consequences of incarcerating parents
Editor’s note: Guest blogger Christopher Wildeman is an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University whose work focuses primarily on parental incarceration. In a new report, Vera describes an agenda for family-focused justice reform. One core component of the report is the corrosive effects on children of contact with the criminal justice s...