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Project Description

Prisoners’ Rights

Vera Institute of Justice

Established in 1961

Mission Statement: Vera’s mission is to drive change. To urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.

Maximizing your PocketChange

For every dollar spent…

Impacts & Achievements:

Some of the highlights

CEO Salary: 0.44% of expenses

  • Vera Institute of Justice currently works on nearly 60 local issue driven projects in 47 states

  • Vera Institute of Justice has worked with many governments to reduce prison populations, including the city of Philadelphia with a plan to reduce its jail population by 34 percent in three years

  • Vera Institute of Justice’s College in Prison work expanded in 2016 when the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Justice enlisted Vera to support the 69 participating colleges and universities newly providing post-secondary education in institutes.

  • Vera Institute of Justice helps provide access to college in prison for an estimated 12,000 students in 28 states.

  • The Institute has worked closely with the city of New Orleans to reform prisons, and has led efforts to reduce the jail population there by nearly 70 percent.

Featured Programs:

How VERA is making a difference

The Guardianship Project

The Guardianship Project serves as court-appointed agency guardians to a vulnerable, mostly indigent population—elderly and disabled individuals who lack family or other supports that enable them to live as independently as possible. TGP seeks to cast a spotlight on a desperately missing element of the social safety net and to provide an approach that humanely addresses critical needs for these individuals, saves public dollars, and allows key institutions to operate more effectively.

Youth Justice

Vera’s Center on Youth Justice (CYJ) works with policymakers and practitioners who want juvenile justice to be rooted in the community, more effective, and smaller in scale, touching the lives of fewer children.

Center on Immigration and Justice

Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice (CIJ) works with government, nonprofit partners, and communities to improve government systems that affect immigrants’ lives. CIJ focuses on two objectives: increasing immigrants’ access to legal services, and improving relationships between immigrant communities and law enforcement. The center administers legal services programs, develops and implements pilot programs, provides technical assistance, and conducts evaluation and empirical research.

Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections (CSC) works to drive change in the criminal justice system through research, practice innovation, testing new ideas, and policy development assistance to criminal justice practitioners at the local, state, and national level. The Center’s work focuses on developing and supporting balanced, fair and humane sentencing and corrections policies to reduce the overall use of incarceration; to transform the in-custody experience into one that can improve the lives of those incarcerated so that they return home to support their families and communities; and to ensure that prisons and jails are safe for those incarcerated and as well as those who work there. Most recently, CSC has embarked on Reimagining Prison, an ambitious 18-month initiative that aims to drive a national conversation on the purpose of incarceration and arrive at a truly transformative vision for jails and prison in an America that uses these institutions dramatically less than we currently do.

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