Compstat 2.0, implemented in partnership with the Police Foundation, expands on the metrics used in Compstat to include data central to the success of true community policing, including data related to citizen satisfaction, procedural justice, problem-oriented policing, complaints, and use of force. Compstat 2.0 leverages the strengths of Compstat to help police reduce or prevent crime and enhance their ability to build trust and accountability with their communities. This project will seed an initiative to develop, test, and implement similar models nationwide.
The Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities (EPIC) project is a national effort to identify and assess promising law enforcement practices that cultivate trust and collaboration with immigrant communities. The project uses information collected from a comprehensive study of hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country to offer practical solutions and models for other policing agencies to use to strengthen relationships with the immigrant communities they serve.
In 2013, Vera and Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice embarked on a community-based research project to better understand the needs and experiences of unaccompanied immigrant youth living in New York City. With funding from Leon Lowenstein Foundation, the New York Community Trust, and the Viola W. Bernard Foundation, researchers focused on issues youth often encounter, such as child welfare, immigration, education, mental and physical health care, employment, and access to justice. These findings aim to better inform local government policies and community services.
In 2006, with funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Vera and diverse local stakeholders launched the New York City Trafficking Assessment Project (NYCTAP) which led to the creation of a screening tool to identify likely victims of trafficking, and accompanying guidelines for the tool’s administration. In 2011, Vera was awarded a grant from the NIJ to field test and validate this tool to get closer to a meaningful and practical process for identifying trafficking victims. In 2014, the validated Trafficking Victim Identification Tool and screening guidelines were released along with a research summary and technical report.
Local jails exist in nearly every town and city in America. While rarely on the radar of most Americans, they are the front door to the formal criminal justice system in a country that holds more people in custody than any other on the planet. Their impact is both far-reaching and profound: in the course of a typical year, there are nearly 12 million jail admissions—almost 20 times the number of annual admissions to state and federal prisons—at great cost to the people involved, their families and communities, and society at large. Through research, publications, and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, Vera aims to foster public debate and policy reform to reduce jail incarceration, repair the damage it causes, and promote safe, healthy communities.
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) was created to inform immigrant detainees about their rights, immigration court, and the detention process. On behalf of the federal government’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, program staff work with nonprofit legal service agencies to provide the program at 30 detention facilities across the country.
The National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) provides legal representation for unrepresented immigrants who are detained in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and have been found by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to be incompetent to represent themselves because of a serious mental disorder.
The Vera-administered New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation. NYIFUP, which has received $4.9 million in funding from the New York City Council for the current fiscal year, provides detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at New York’s Varick Street Immigration Court with free, high-quality legal representation. The project, which seeks to keep immigrants with their families and in their communities, will also serve detained New York City residents whose deportation cases are being heard in nearby New Jersey locations.
Vera developed a field-informed guidebook series to advise law enforcement agencies on how to fill the knowledge and practice gap in effectively policing and building trust with the diverse communities they serve. This three book series—written for police, by police—was developed to help police officers use community policing strategies to build trust and foster positive relationships. The guidebooks—known as Police Perspectives: Building Trust in a Diverse Nation—come at a time when many law enforcement agencies are, more so than ever, seeking ways to meaningfully engage with communities of color, as well as youth, immigrant, and transgender communities, among others.
The Translating Justice Initiative aims to enhance access for those who experience communication and cultural barriers in the justice system. It assists victims services providers, law enforcement, legal services providers and others who work in the justice system to overcome communication and cultural barriers with people who have limited English proficiency (LEP) and for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing (D/HOH) through training, tailored assistance, published resources, and research on promising practices.
The Unaccompanied Children Program coordinates a national effort to increase pro bono legal representation for immigrant children in removal (deportation) proceedings without a parent or legal guardian. These children may be fleeing poverty, war, or other dangerous circumstances on their own, or they may have lost contact with an adult along the way. They are detained in federal custody in shelters or detention centers contracted by the Division of Children’s Services (DCS, formerly DUCS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
The United Communities project builds law enforcement’s capacity to engage Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in preventing crime. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services funded Vera to partner with three law enforcement agencies and explore the challenges and opportunities of working with AMEMSA communities to support homeland security goals. The project generated information and resources relevant to community-policing activities in other jurisdictions.