The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $22 million in support of a national effort to reduce over-incarceration.
Awarded through the foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, which was launched in 2015 as a $75 million initiative and has committed $148 million to date to help change the way America thinks about and uses jails, the grants include initial support for projects in twelve cities and counties working to reduce incarceration as well as follow-up grants to thirteen sites. As part of the challenge, leaders in each community identify the causes of over-incarceration locally and work to engage diverse local voices — elected officials, health providers, law enforcement, formerly incarcerated residents, and other community members — in a conversation about ways to reduce over-incarceration, address racial and ethnic disparities, and make local systems more just and equitable.
The thirteen sites awarded additional funding in this round include Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which will receive $2 million to strengthen defense representation and pretrial services; East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was awarded $350,000 in support of a police-led diversion program; and San Francisco, which will receive $2 million to institute widespread implicit-bias training.
Jurisdictions new to the initiative will each receive $50,000 for a single innovative project or program, be eligible for future funding opportunities, and have access to additional resources, peer-learning opportunities, and technical assistance provided by the Center for Court Innovation, Everyday Democracy, the Institute for State and Local Governance, the Justice Management Institute, Justice System Partners, Nexus Community Partners, the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Urban Institute, the Vera Institute of Justice, Policy Research, Inc., and the W. Haywood Burns Institute.
"There is growing demand for criminal justice reform across the country, and local jurisdictions are leading the way," said MacArthur Foundation director of justice reform Laurie Garduque. "MacArthur is increasing our investment because we are seeing promising results and an appetite for more reform as evidenced by the diversity and creativity of the solutions implemented and tested across the network. While progress is not always easy, and there is no single solution or quick fix, these jurisdictions are proving it is possible to rethink local justice systems from the ground up with forward-looking, smart solutions."
For a complete list of Safety and Justice Challenge grantees, see the MacArthur Foundation website.