Projects: Corrections Support and Accountability Project
Vera’s Washington DC Office is partnering with five jurisdictions around the country—two states and three large counties—to help them improve oversight of their jails and prisons. The project draws on lessons from the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons regarding the importance of strong oversight of correctional facilities.
Vera staff are bringing together county and state executives, legislators, corrections officials, judges, and community advocates in the four partner jurisdictions to facilitate a conversation about issues related to oversight and identify mechanisms that can address their partners’ most significant corrections challenges in this area.
Project staff will provide technical assistance as each jurisdiction works to develop appropriate solutions. In some cases this will mean improving existing oversight; in others it will mean finding political support and the resources needed to build new oversight mechanisms. Because it is rare for leaders in any profession to invite greater oversight of their activities, Vera staff are working closely with their partners to develop meaningful strategies that reflect their unique conditions and goals.
Vera staff are also researching best practices in correctional oversight and developing resources that jurisdictions throughout the country can use to enhance their own corrections oversight.
Why work on jail and prison oversight?
All public institutions—including hospitals, schools, and prisons—can benefit from good oversight and meaningful accountability. Effective correctional oversight can prevent problems, guide decision makers on how to allocate resources, and enhance the legitimacy of the prison system in the eyes of corrections officers, community members, people who are incarcerated, and families. Too little is known, however, about how different oversight mechanisms achieve these goals. Which mechanisms best ensure safety for corrections officers and prisoners, for example? Which mechanisms help administrators optimize rehabilitation? This project is designed to answer these and other questions by creating practical solutions and building resources to advance knowledge about this field.