Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

To drive change. To urgently build and improve justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.

Achieving Our Mission

We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement, to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence.

Closing Mass Incarceration’s Front Door

Our goal is substantially fewer people held in jail. In a landmark 2015 report, Vera alerted America to the negative impact of pretrial detention. The social cost is high: even a few days in jail can lead to longer incarceration and adversely influence the rest of a person’s life. Employment, family relationships, finances, and community health are all disrupted, and this often has a disproportionate impact on those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Too often, we see people presumed innocent, yet held in detention simply because they cannot afford bail as low as $500. Vera aims to revolutionize understanding of how jails contribute to mass incarceration. We are committed to aggressively shrinking the jailed population in the United States over the next five years—in 15 bellwether cities and major counties—by reducing the use of money as a determinant for release, increasing diversion from incarceration for substance use and mental health services, and reducing police over-reliance on arrest.