Current Thinking

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Jun 24, 2009 Yesterday was the deadline for public and private agencies in the U.S. to submit proposals for the federal government to fund “field-generated innovative strategies” to address crime and justice problems. This grant program contrasts with the vast majority of government solicitations these days, which fund replication of “evidence-based” programs—programs that have already been evaluated and shown to work. This federal initiative is a much-needed...

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Jun 19, 2009 Vera just received an award for nonprofit management excellence from the New York Times Company. We were one of six finalists at the ceremony in the paper's terrific new auditorium in midtown. Four winners were ultimately chosen. New York Cares won for overall management excellence, Vera and Groundwork each received special mention for excellence in management, and the Neighborhood Economic Development Project (NEDAP) received the award for excellent...

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Jun 10, 2009 Two American journalists were sentenced yesterday to 12 years in North Korean prison. If diplomatic efforts to free them are unsuccessful, they are sure to do some seriously hard time. A Time story relates some of the harsh conditions Laura Ling and Euna Lee are likely to face once inside. The anecdotes that have managed to emerge from the system are chilling. One survivor of a North Korean prison camp told,...

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May 5, 2009 A 2008 Vera study recommended that the Department of Community Justice (DCJ) in Multnomah County (Portland), Oregon, change the way it sanctions people on probation and parole. Finding that a jail stay alone does not lead to better outcomes for county residents who violate the conditions of supervision, Vera researchers suggested that DCJ explore shortened jail stays for violators and expand the use of other sanctions, such as day reporting and community...

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May 4, 2009 The New York Times Company has selected Vera as one of six finalists for its third annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The awards recognize outstanding achievement in management practices and strategy among nonprofit organizations in New York City. “These are hugely competitive awards and simply making it to the final stage is a great accomplishment and honor,” said Vera’s director, Michael Jacobson. The other finalists are the Citizens Advice Bureau,...
Jan 28, 2009 Vera’s Program on Child Welfare, Health and Justice issued a new report, Experiences of New York City Foster Children in HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials. Based on a three-year review of thousands of boxes of information, the study identifies the procedures established to enroll and monitor these children, determines whether the procedures were followed, and discusses the outcomes for the children who were enrolled. The report also provides recommendations to...

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Jan 7, 2009 A new report about how New York’s juvenile justice system has been operating for the past three years is now available from Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ). Widening the Lens 2008 tracks four key areas of the system—court referrals, detention, court processing, and disposition—to offer insight into how county and state agencies are serving youth. The goal is to help officials monitor the system, alert managers to demographic shifts or policy changes,...

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