Vera’s experts conduct research and analysis and develop policies and programs in a variety of criminal and social justice fields. Their varied knowledge, background, and experience enable Vera to address the full spectrum of national and local justice issues.
Leah G. Pope is an anthropologist who joined Vera in 2016 as a Senior Research Associate in the Substance Use and Mental Health Program. Leah brings with her extensive experience in qualitative and mixed methods research in the fields of public mental health and criminal and juvenile justice. Her current work at Vera includes developing a policy brief on how criminal justice systems are thinking about and responding to the opiate epidemic, and implementing and evaluating a sentinel events review process at Rikers Island jail aimed at reducing incidents of suicide and self-harm. Prior to joining Vera, Leah was a research scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research where she worked on a process and outcome evaluation of Parachute NYC, a citywide approach to providing a “soft landing” for people experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Her broad research interests include the landscape of recovery and support for people with serious mental illness and alternative treatment options for young people with mental health issues and criminal justice involvement. Leah received an A.B. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Teachers College and is currently on the faculty of the Bard Prison Initiative.
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