Vera harnesses the growing public demand for justice and partners with leaders in the justice system to drive change. One critical aspect of this work is addressing how the justice system disproportionately targets people of color, from policing to sentencing practices. This too is garnering increased public attention, most recently with the documentary "13TH". While African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, they are 40 percent of those behind bars. This is the result not of criminality, but of policies that target communities of color. African Americans use drugs at roughly the same rate as whites, for instance, but they make up 31% of those arrested for drug law violations, and nearly 40% of those in prison for them.
Vera works to address these racial disparities in the system, as well as to end the era of mass incarceration that has disproportionately devastated communities of color.
Race and Prosecution in Manhattan
Racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system are often seen as the result of law enforcement practices and/or judicial decision making. The role of prosecutors, however, is regularly overlooked. Prosecutors have wide discretion when it comes to initial screening, charging, bail, and pretrial detention recommendations, as well as div...
Justice In Focus
Crime Bill @ 20
College in Prison
Postsecondary education opportunities for incarcerated people
People involved in the criminal justice system have, on average, much lower education levels than the general population. Research suggests that education is key to improving many long-term outcomes for incarcerated people, their families, and their communities—including reducing recidivism and increasing employability and earnings after release. T...
Bail, Fines, and Fees
A look at how bail, fines, and fees in the criminal justice system impact poor communities in New Orleans
The New Orleans criminal justice system, like many other local systems across the country, operates significantly on funding generated from the people cycling through it—from bail and associated fees before trial, to fines and fees levied after conviction. These practices come with hidden costs to defendants—the majority of whom are poor and black—...
Segregation—also known as solitary confinement and restrictive housing—is a growing safety and human rights concern across the country. Originally implemented to deal with people committing violence within prisons, segregation is now relied on heavily to manage challenging populations, house vulnerable people, and punish people for all levels of in...