Current Thinking

a forum for ideas, opinions, and strategies on justice policy and practice

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Mar 30, 2016 Think about a particularly trying time in your life. Now think about not having a place to stay or family to support you during this time of hardship. Would you have made it?  For people recently convicted of a crime, having a place to stay and the support of family are often the most influential factors in their success. But for decades, housing authorities across the country have not allowed recently convicted people to access public housing, even...

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Mar 24, 2016 Justice for Families (J4F) is a national alliance of local organizations committed to ending the “youth incarceration epidemic.” It was founded and is run by parents and families who have experienced the juvenile justice system with their children. We sat down with co-founder and executive director Grace Bauer-Lubow and associate director Tracey Wells-Huggins to discuss J4F’s recent release of Focus on Youth and Families: A Guide for Conducting Focus...

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Mar 18, 2016 The high unemployment rate among veterans who have been involved in the justice system has prompted legislative action (such as the Second Chance for America’s Veterans Act; H.R. 3467, 2007) and the development of programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (such as the Office of Homelessness’s Veterans Justice Programs and Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services) to assist in returning these veterans to the workforce. In collaboration with...
Mar 7, 2016 There is growing attention to the intersection of poverty, mental illness, and criminal justice. Just last week, Vox published an article describing how the criminal justice system has become the default mental health system in the United States. And Vera recently released The Human Toll of Jail, featuring a story...

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Feb 29, 2016 Last week, Vera, in partnership with the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy, hosted a lively discussion about the importance of family engagement for youth involved in the juvenile justice system and launched a new report, Identifying, Engaging, and Empowering Families: A Charge for Juvenile Justice Agencies. Shay Bilchik, founder and director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University, moderated the event. The...

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Feb 24, 2016 Last fall, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with support from the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, convened a colloquium including 15 corrections agency heads and a like number of experts from the community of those seeking to reform the use of social isolation, often called “solitary confinement,” in U.S. prisons and jails. The purpose: to determine if consensus on sought-after reforms might be achieved by common agreement and without...

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Feb 12, 2016 As the 2016 legislative session gets underway in states across the nation, it’s a hopeful time for those who support criminal justice policy rooted in a holistic vision of public safety that embraces not only efficiency, but also justice, compassion, and a commitment to human dignity. In Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam has announced his second-term Public Safety Action Plan and accompanying legislation has been introduced in the General Assembly. The plan...

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