The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $11.3 million to eight U.S. counties and cities seeking to create fairer, more effective justice systems.
Awarded as part of the foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, a $100 million initiative launched in 2015 with the goal of reducing over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails, the grants will support locally driven strategies that affect all aspects of the criminal justice system, from crisis intervention to behavioral health to pretrial release and supervision.
Grant recipients include Ada County, Idaho; Cook County, Illinois; Los Angeles County, California; Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; Multnomah County, Oregon; Palm Beach County, Florida; Pennington County, South Dakota; and Shelby, Tennessee. In addition, several leading criminal justice organizations will continue to provide technical assistance and counsel to the jurisdictions, including the Center for Court Innovation, the Institute for State and Local Governance at the City University of New York, the Justice Management Institute, Justice System Partners, the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Vera Institute of Justice, Policy Research, Inc., and the W. Haywood Burns Institute.
Since joining the Safety and Justice Challenge Network earlier this year, jurisdictions as diverse as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lucas County, Ohio; Charleston County, South Carolina; and Multnomah County, Oregon, have seen significant declines in their average daily jail populations, while many of the Challenge sites are seeing early impacts of changes designed to create fairer, more effective justice systems that protect public safety.
"We are encouraged by the promise of the network's results to date, and the long-term benefits that reforms will yield for individuals, families, and communities," said Laurie Garduque, the foundation's director of justice reform. "Leaders from these jurisdictions are proving that everyone benefits when local justice systems are made to be fairer, to responsibly steward taxpayer dollars, and to safely improve outcomes for families and communities. Given the promise of these efforts, other local leaders should take notice of the solutions being piloted by the cities, counties, and states supported by the challenge and begin rethinking jails in their own jurisdictions."
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