We encourage you to explore Vera's extensive resource library, built up by decades of expert research, analysis, and real-world application. Vera produces a wide variety of resources about our work, including publications, podcasts, and videos, dating from our founding in 1961 to the present. You can search these resources using the filters below to sort by type of resource, project, or topic. Enter part of the title in the search box to look for a specific resource.
|from the INCARCERATION TRENDS project|
In national research, self-reported marijuana use is similar across races, but in New Orleans, black people are disproportionately arrested for marijuana offenses, including simple possession. While some states have legalized marijuana in recent years, the consequences for marijuana possession in Louisiana remain severe—under state law, repeated convictions for simple possession are punishable by multi-year prison sentences. This report illuminates through quantitative analysis the persistent racial disparities in marijuana policing from 2010 to 2015, and discusses the impacts of statutory and policy reforms the city has implemented to date. Through these findings, the report aims to guide state and local policymakers toward further improvements to lessen the harm even seemingly minor police encounters inflict on black communities, and inspire other jurisdictions to examine their own practices.
Law enforcement officers must be able to fairly and effectively engage with all communities in their jurisdiction. As the country continues to diversify, officers must cultivate trust and collaboration with communities that have various languages, cultures, and customs, to ensure public safety for all. Since 2014, the nation has focused on how police respond to contentious encounters, how and when they use force, and the disparate impact of policing on people of color. This three-part series—written for police, by police—seeks to fill the knowledge and practice gap in effective policing, highlighting practical, field-informed approaches to building trust with multiracial, multiethnic communities.
Millions of medically vulnerable and socially marginalized people cycle through the criminal justice system each year due to serious structural problems entrenched in American society. The absence of a coherent and effective social safety net means that people lack access to physical and mental health care, social services, and housing options in their communities. This report, First Do No Harm: Advancing Public Health in Policing Practices, details the cultural divide among system actors that amplify and sustain these problems and offers recommendations on how law enforcement policymakers and practitioners—in collaboration with public health officials and harm reduction advocates—can enhance both public safety and community health.
To help local law enforcement agencies negotiate the cultural, religious, ethnic, racial, and language barriers that exist between them and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities, Vera has produced Uniting Communities Post-9/11. Funded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, this guide identifies barriers to effective community policing partnerships with AMEMSA communities and offers recommendations on building trust and mutually beneficial relationships that can aid in crime prevention and victims services. The guide’s content is distilled from Vera’s work with the local law enforcement agencies and AMEMSA community organizations in Piscataway, New Jersey; Anaheim, California; and Cleveland, Ohio.
Local jails, which exist in nearly every town and city in America, are built to hold people deemed too dangerous to release pending trial or at high risk of flight. This, however, is no longer primarily what jails do or whom they hold, as people too poor to post bail languish there and racial disparities disproportionately impact communities of color. This report reviews existing research and data to take a deeper look at our nation’s misuse of local jails and to determine how we arrived at this point. It also highlights jurisdictions that have taken steps to mitigate negative consequences, all with the aim of informing local policymakers and their constituents who are interested in reducing recidivism, improving public safety, and promoting stronger, healthier communities.
A new initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
Written testimony of Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, on the topic of building trust and legitimacy between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, submitted on January 9, 2015 to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Turner discusses how trust between police and communities has been damaged by the ascendancy of policing strategies organized around arresting large numbers of people for low-level crimes and the wide-scale use of punitive interventions—such as stop, question, and frisk—and encourages police leadership to experiment with a philosophy of fewer arrests, summonses, and intrusions in the name of crime prevention.
The mayoral transition in New York City provides an opportunity to reexamine the city's justice systems and ask if community needs that advance fairness and public safety are being met. This panel discussion explores the potential for initiatives embedded in communities where people have high rates of contact with the justice system—and how they aim to help residents succeed and communities thrive. The discussion, which features the New York City Department of Probation’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network Initiative (NeON), and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Family Re-entry Pilot, is part of Vera's Justice in Transition-NYC series.
Watch the full panel discussion on YouTube.
In the summer of 2013, the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) and the Vera Institute of Justice conducted an informal nationwide online survey of 1,226 state and local criminal justice stakeholder organizations. The questionnaire’s purpose was to gather information from a wide range of jurisdictions about the impact of budget cuts, both already enacted and anticipated. This document is a summary of self-reported responses.
What is the impact of stop and frisk on young people in highly patrolled areas of New York City, and what does it mean for public safety? Find out in this video as lead authors, Jennifer Fratello and Andrés F. Rengifo, discuss the results of their study "Coming of Age with Stop and Frisk: Experiences, Self-Perceptions, and Public Safety Implications."
Amid the debate about stop and frisk in New York City, its relationship to reductions in crime, and concerns about racial profiling, one question has gone largely unexplored: How does being stopped by police, and the frequency of those stops, affect those who experience them at a young age? In New York City, at least half of all recorded stops annually involve those between the ages of 13 and 25.
This new study from Vera’s Center on Youth Justice examines this question. The results reveal a great deal about the experiences and perceptions of young New Yorkers who are most likely to be stopped. Trust in law enforcement among these young people is alarmingly low. This has significant public safety implications as young people who have been stopped more often are less willing to report crimes, even when they themselves are the victims. The report includes a set of recommendations aimed at restoring trust and improving police-community relations. It also features an infographic summarizing the findings.