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.
Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence.
Vera convened a panel of experts to discuss the disparities in our response to violence, which included Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Representative, Eight Congressional District of New York, and Kenneth Thompson, District Attorney, Brooklyn, Dr. Richard Dudley, Psychiatrist, New York City, and Rev. Dr. Harold Trulear, Professor of Applied Theology, Howard University School of Divinity. The panel was moderated by Kirsten Levingston, Program Officer, at the Ford Foundation.
For more information about addressing disparities in our response to violence, please download our issue brief.
The numbers of blacks and Latinos involved in the U.S. criminal justice system is disproportionate to their numbers in the general population nationwide. These disparities in criminal case outcomes have increasingly caught the attention of scholars, journalists, and justice advocates, just as they have vexed prosecutors around the country. Vera’s Prosecution and Racial Justice Program (PRJ) published this guide to help prosecutors examine whether the broad discretionary power they wield in case-processing decisions affects racially disparate outcomes. The guide, based on PRJ’s nine years of experience as research partner with a number of district attorneys, is designed to aid prosecutors seeking to conduct research into their offices’ work and address any problems contributing to racial disparity the research uncovers.
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.
Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. This issue brief aims to raise awareness of this large but often overlooked group of victims, and help foster efforts—both local and nationwide—to provide them with the compassionate support and services they need and deserve.
Vera partnered with the District Attorney of New York to examine whether prosecutorial discretion contributes to racially and ethnically disparate outcomes in New York County criminal cases. In this video, Vera Research Director Jim Parsons discusses Race and Prosecution in New York County and its findings.
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In order to ensure the integrity of the justice system, it is essential that case outcomes do not disproportionately affect members of certain racial and ethnic groups—and that any disparities be identified so solutions can be developed. To that end, Vera partnered with the District Attorney of New York on an NIJ-funded study examining racial and ethnic disparities in criminal case outcomes in Manhattan. The two-year study, which analyzed more than 200,000 cases, focused on the role of prosecutors during several points of a criminal case—case acceptance for prosecution, dismissals, pretrial detention, plea bargaining, and sentencing recommendations—and whether prosecutorial discretion contributes to racially and ethnically disparate outcomes. While the best predictors of case outcomes were factors that directly pertained to legal aspects of a case—including the seriousness of the charge, the defendant’s prior record, and the offense type—the research also found that race remained a factor in case outcomes.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, black, Hispanic and Asian residents of New York City and its suburbs are a majority of the metropolitan area’s population. The disproportionate impact on minorities of stop and frisk — ruled unconstitutional — has been the leading item on the justice agenda. But other justice issues related to immigrants and minorities merit attention, such as the intersection of AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian) populations with the justice system in the post-9/11 era, the lack of representation for indigent immigrants facing detention, and wage theft. This panel discussion, which is part of Vera's Justice in Transition-NYC series, includes government and community leaders discussing these issues and what justice might look like in the de Blasio era.
Watch the the full panel discussion on YouTube.
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."