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America’s Expensive Prisons

Does shrinking the size of prison populations save taxpayers money? Not always, says a study released May 23 by the Vera Institute of Justice. The study found that 25 states increased their spending on prisons even though the nation’s overall prison population has declined.

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Alone and New to the U.S.

Young immigrants who enter the U.S. unaccompanied are particularly vulnerable, and struggle to access a variety of services, a study by the Vera Institute of Justice found. Researchers interviewed youth who entered the U.S. unaccompanied and found their way to New York City. They found that both unaccompanied youth and service providers lacked information about how to handle a variety of obstacles related to social services and civic services for the youth. “Although legal service providers who participated in the […]

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‘Warehouses’ for Those with Mental Health Problems

American jails have become warehouses for poor people with mental health problems, according to a new report from the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice. The report finds that nearly 75 percent of those in jail are charged with nonviolent crime. Three out of five have not been convicted of any crime, but “are simply too poor to post even low bail to get out while their cases are being processed.” “Among the many disadvantaged people in jails, the largest group […]

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Report: Most States ‘Rethinking’ Collateral Consequences

All but nine states have taken steps since 2009 to limit the damage that having a criminal record can cause for those who have already served time, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. An individual’s criminal history can disrupt access to social benefits, limit employment opportunities and certain civil rights, but between 2009 and 2014, 41 states and the District of Columbia passed 155 bills designed “to mitigate the burden of collateral consequences for individuals […]

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Vera: Criminal Justice Reform is a Nationwide Trend

Legislation passed in states across the nation in 2013 pushed aside old “tough on crime” policies in favor of community-based programs and practices that “can produce better outcomes at less cost,” according to a new report from the non-profit Vera Institute of Justice. The report examines 85 bills passed in 35 states that relate to reducing prison populations or costs, expanding community-based sanctions, implementing risk and needs assessments, developing re-entry support programs or research into better criminal justice policies. “By […]