Funding: Vera Institute Research Fellowships

The Early Research Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY

invites applications for two

CUNY Graduate Center – Vera Institute Research Fellowships

Fellowship amounts: $4,000

Deadline for applications: March 29, 2016


The information below was provided by the Provost’s Office:

The Early Research Initiative invites applications for two Vera Institute Research Fellowships.  These $4,000 fellowships will be offered to Graduate Center Ph.D. students from any program with primary research interests in criminal or immigration justice and the work of the Vera Institute. The primary responsibilities of the award winners will be to collaborate with researchers in one of Vera’s 5 centers or programs on research relating to a specific project, including but not limited to data collection, analysis, fieldwork, report writing, stakeholder engagement, and dissemination.

While Vera’s centers, programs, and demonstration projects span the criminal justice system, it is offering CUNY Fellows projects in select areas. Please see the attached list of potential projects below, and indicate in your application which project or projects are most relevant to your experience and interest.

Fellowship recipients will be required to be in residence for 120 hours over the summer of 2016 at the Vera Institute working for scheduled times from 9:30 to 4pm on Monday through Friday. In addition, recipients will be required to do a brief public presentation on their work and write a blog post about their experiences before the end of the Fall 2016 semester.

To apply please send a letter of interest describing your research interests and related experience with specific reference to one of the projects described below, a c.v., a current Graduate Center transcript (Students may submit the unofficial student copy that can be printed from banner), and a letter of support from your primary advisor.

Instructions for submitting your application:

1)     Please combine the above materials (except for the letter of recommendation) into a SINGLE file (saved as either as a pdf document or a word document).

Use the following format when naming your document: Last Name, First Name, Program

2)     Email your file directly to

Please use your Graduate Center email address when sending the file.

Instructions for Faculty Recommenders

1) Prepare your reference letter as a regular word or pdf document.

2) Please use the following format when naming your document: Student Last Name, First Name

3) Email your file directly to

 Application Deadline: March 29th, 2016

CUNY Graduate Center / Vera Institute of Justice PhD Student Fellowships

Available projects, Summer 2016

Aging and Infirm Prisoners in New York

Center on Sentencing and Corrections and Substance Use and Mental Health Program 

The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) currently holds approximately 53,000 incarcerated individuals. Within this population, 17% are over the age of 50, and many have severe mobility impairments and/or have been diagnosed with one or more serious illness. Medical parole is one option for releasing the most medically costly prisoners. This project, in partnership with DOCCS, will assess practices and policies for medical parole and identify opportunities for improvement, develop community based placement opportunities, and enhance DOCCS capacity to use medical parole and provide implementation assistance. In addition, Vera will track released individuals’ quality of live post-release.

Incarceration Trends

Center on Sentencing and Corrections

The Incarceration Trends Project (ITP) seeks to advance research on the prevalence and impact of incarceration at the local-level. Vera’s ITP dataset merges 45 years of county-level inmate population data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Census of Jails and Annual Survey of Jails and resident population demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently, the dataset includes jail data for every one of the approximately 3,000 counties in the country and combined jail and prison data for all counties in New York and California. In 2016, Vera will incorporate data for the number of people in, and admissions to, prison by commitment county for all 50 states. For more information, see the ITP data tool at and complete details on the ITP dataset in Incarceration Trends: Data and Methods for Historical Jail Populations in U.S. Counties, 1970-2014 (Kang-Brown, 2015). Vera is seeking opportunities to use this tool to answer important questions about the use of incarceration, and the Summer Fellow will have the chance to take part in discussions and help shape the future direction of the project and analyses.

New York Immigrant Family Unity Project

Center on Immigration and Justice

The Vera-administered New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) is the first public defender program in the country for immigrants facing deportation. NYIFUP provides detained indigent immigrants facing deportation at New York’s Varick Street Immigration Court with free, high-quality legal representation. The project, which seeks to keep immigrants with their families and in their communities, will also serve detained New York City residents whose deportation cases are being heard in nearby New Jersey locations.

The project seeks to increase court effectiveness and decrease detention times for those it represents, thereby saving taxpayer dollars, while maximizing due process. By keeping families together, the project lowers the social and economic costs that would otherwise be incurred by the City and State of New York and New York employers. NYIFUP provides a replicable model for other jurisdictions around the country. NYIFUP is a collaborative of Vera, the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, The Center for Popular Democracy, Make the Road New York, and the Immigration Justice Clinic of Cardozo Law School.

Quantitative skills are important for this work, but this project also provides an opportunity to gain qualitative research experience, particularly data cleaning and analysis for the report to the City Council. There will be a rich, primary data set of over 1200 cases currently being compiled by three legal service providers in New York that will be available for analysis starting in June or July 2016.  There also may be an opportunity to help conduct qualitative interviews with clients of the program. Some knowledge of immigration law and Spanish language ability preferred.

Justice AmeriCorps

Center on Immigration and Justice

The number of children crossing the border without a parent or legal guardian has increased ten-fold in recent years, starting from an annual average of 6,000-7,000 children.  The purpose of the justice AmeriCorps Program is to use the AmeriCorps service model to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of immigration court proceedings involving unaccompanied children. Immigration judges are able to conduct hearings more effectively when unaccompanied children are assisted by competent legal representatives. Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice is conducting this study to provide performance measurement and evaluation services that will contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the jAC Legal Services for Unaccompanied Children Program. The Summer Fellow will be able to learn about the project and take part in the evaluation.

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