The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling $18 million in support of efforts to reduce over-incarceration.
Awarded through the foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge initiative, the grants will expand support for efforts to advance racial equity already under way in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Buncombe County, North Carolina; Charleston County, South Carolina; the city and county of San Francisco, California; East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana; Lake County, Illinois; Lucas County, Ohio; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Minnehaha County, South Dakota; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pima County, Arizona; St. Louis County, Missouri; and Spokane County, Washington.
Launched five years ago, the Safety and Justice Challenge has awarded grants totaling more than $246 million to date and has grown to include fifty-one sites in thirty-two states. To drive reform, participating sites incorporate data from, and work with, diverse groups of community members, individuals who work in the justice system, and people with lived experience of the system.
"We must confront the devastating impacts of mass incarceration by a system that over-polices and over-incarcerates Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people," said Laurie Garduque, director of criminal justice at the foundation. "Over the past five years, the Safety and Justice Challenge has safely reduced the ineffective and harmful use of jails, while learning that jail population reduction alone does not undo the racial inequities perpetuated by an unjust system and our nation's history of systemic racism. We are committed to supporting cities and counties as they reimagine a definition of safety that is inclusive of all communities and makes meaningful progress toward our goal of ending racial and ethnic disparities in jails."