Twenty Jurisdictions Join MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants of $50,000 and technical assistance to twenty U.S. jurisdictions seeking to create fairer and more effective local justice systems.

Through the Innovation Fund 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, grants were awarded to the City of Atlanta, the City and County of San Francisco, the State of Delaware, and seventeen countries and parishes to design and test innovative local justice reforms designed to reduce the use of jail and address racial and ethnic disparities in their justice systems. To that end, the jurisdictions will receive support and expert technical assistance from the Urban Institute — which manages the $1.8 million Innovation Fund in partnership with MacArthur — in implementing a variety of innovations, from crisis intervention, to behavioral health programs, to pretrial release and supervision.

Recipients include Campbell County, Tennessee, which will use its grant  to implement a gender-responsive risk and needs assessment tool aimed at assisting low-income single mothers facing incarceration with wrap-around services designed to help them  stay out of the system; the City and County of San Francisco, which will use the funds to  develop and implement a Web-based Justice System Dashboard; Dane County, Wisconsin, which will use its grant to expand a diversion program for youth; and Polk County, Iowa, which will use the funds to provide crisis intervention training to sheriff's office staff.

Innovation Fund jurisdictions also will have access to the resources, peer-learning opportunities, and expertise provided by the Safety and Justice Challenge Network and will be eligible for future funding opportunities through the challenge.

"Local jurisdictions are leading the way on justice reform," said MacArthur Foundation president Julia Stasch. "Demand for reform at the local level is considerable and growing, as evidenced by the number, diversity, and creativity of the applications we received. This momentum is encouraging, particularly as the federal justice reform landscape evolves and shifts."

For a complete list of grant recipients, see the MacArthur Foundation website.