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Out of Sight: The Growth of Jails in Rural America

Publication date: 
06/2017
America’s 3,283 local jails are the “front door” to mass incarceration. But for too long, county jail systems have operated and grown outside of public view. Vera developed the Incarceration Trends data tool so that Americans could have access to information showing just how large their jails have grown, and who is held inside. Our latest analysis of this data reveals an unexpected and—for many—an unintuitive finding: there has been a dramatic shift in the geography of incarceration.
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The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010 - 2015

Publication date: 
05/2017
Bipartisan-led sentencing reform since the 2008 recession has begun to turn the tide on mass incarceration, and today there are five percent fewer people incarcerated in state prisons than in 2009. Reform is often driven in part by fiscal pressures and, accordingly, budget savings are often an assumed byproduct of downsizing prisons. But while this sometimes happens, it is by no means always the case, according to a new report and accompanying interactive data tool from the Vera Institute of Justice.
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Analysis: Thirty-four States Enacted 79 Laws Affecting Policing from 2015-2016

Publication date: 
04/2017
The report reveals that there has been a significant uptick in states’ actions around policing, including clarifying and improving policies around use-of-force and misconduct cases and improving tracking of police operations around the use of body-worn cameras in order to both protect the public and police officers.
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Incarceration Trends

Publication date: 
03/2016
Since 1970, there has been more than a four-fold increase in the average daily number of people held in the nearly 3,000 jails in the United States, from 157,000 in 1970 to 690,000 in 2014. Incarceration has grown the most outside the largest counties. While the largest jails often draw the most attention and are the ones most often discussed by policymakers and the media, Vera Institute of Justice found that these jails have neither grown the most nor are they necessarily found in the jurisdictions with the highest incarceration rates. Rather, mid-sized and small counties—which account for...
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First Do No Harm: Advancing Public Health in Policing Practices

Publication date: 
11/2015
This report, First Do No Harm: Advancing Public Health in Policing Practices, details the cultural divide among the elements of the social safety net -- people lack access to physical and mental health care, social services, and housing options -- that amplify and sustain problems and offers recommendations on how law enforcement policymakers and practitioners—in collaboration with public health officials and harm reduction advocates—can enhance both public safety and community health.
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