As vice president and research director at the Vera Institute of Justice, Jim Parsons is responsible for shaping Vera’s research agenda and using data to inform criminal justice and immigration reform initiatives. His work in the United States has focused on the intersection of criminal justice and public health, included studies measuring the overlap of mental illness and incarceration; the implementation and impacts of drug law reforms; and research on the challenges that people with serious mental health disorders face accessing effective legal defense representation. Jim directed Justice and Health Connect, a federally funded initiative to improve information sharing as a tool for coordination between justice and health systems. Internationally, he has worked extensively with researchers in China and led a number of initiatives to assess the rule of law in post-conflict settings and the Global South.

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