|Posted by JJ The Psychotherapist on July 29, 2021 at 2:20 PM|
The Vera Institute of Justice has received over $90 million in funding from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies this fiscal year. According to information analyzed by The Washington Free Beacon, the federal government has invested $811 million in the institute since 2008.
According to its website, the Vera Institute is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to overhauling the US criminal justice system by focusing on ending "the criminalization of people of color, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty" and "drastically" reducing the use of "jails, prisons, and detention centers."
Two Vera executives expressed support for the “defund the police” campaign among Black Lives Matter demonstrators during rioting last year sparked by the death of George Floyd. The movement advocated for local police agencies to be stripped of cash in order to fund social services in crime-ridden areas.
Following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020, two prominent executives at Vera rallied to the defund cause.
On June 8, 2020, Vera president Nicholas Turner said, “Vera is committed to dismantling the current policing culture and working toward solutions that defund police and shift power to communities.”
Turner, who earned $420,000 in 2019 at Vera in salary and perks, called for support for "the outrage we’re seeing—in the streets, in our communities, and in the media."
Turner stated, "Now is the time to stop tinkering with police reform and to enact wholesale change." “We're building on this historic moment of public outrage, outrage, and calls for police defunding.”
Jamila Hodge, another Vera officer, said it was “time to radically dismantle” the criminal justice system. She said that the criminal justice system "dehumanizes and devalues Black people" and is rooted in "our nation's legacy of slavery and white supremacy" in a letter published in June 2020.
Many American voters have rejected the “defund the police” argument, despite increased crime in major U.S. cities and reaction from law enforcement. Last year, a Gallup poll indicated that 81 percent of black Americans supported the same level or more policing in their areas.
Despite high-profile Democrats supporting the movement, such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrats have attempted to pin the “defund the police” narrative on Republicans. President Joe Biden's senior adviser Cedric Richmond stated in June that Republicans are to blame for defunding police forces after a number of Democratic-controlled localities took moves to decrease funding.
“Let’s talk about who defunded the police. When we were in Congress last year trying to pass … an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters, it was the Republicans who objected to it,” Richmond noted during a discussion on Fox News. “And in fact, they didn’t get funding until the American Rescue Plan, which our plan allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed.”
“Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police. We funded crime intervention and a whole bunch of other things,” Richmond said.