The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that eight jurisdictions would receive $11.3 million in additional funding through the Safety and Justice Challenge to fully implement jail-reduction strategies they have been planning for over two years. The MacArthur Foundation created the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) initiative to support more just and effective local justice systems that improve public safety, save taxpayer money, and yield fairer outcomes for individuals and communities.
The IACP is a Strategic Ally for the SJC initiative working on numerous fronts to encourage and support law enforcement leaders in implementing progressive reforms, promote enhanced collaboration with other justice stakeholders, and work proactively on pre-arrest diversion tactics to ensure the community has access to the behavioral health resources it needs to keep low-risk individuals out of the criminal justice system. IACP is one of 12 Strategic Allies engaged in the SJC and works with other partners in the SJC Network to provide support for the justice system stakeholders implementing these innovative initiatives in the 40 Challenge sites.
The eight cities and counties, all of which were among the original 20 sites chosen in 2015 to participate in the Challenge, are Ada County (ID), Cook County (IL), Los Angeles County (CA), Mecklenburg County (NC), Multnomah County (OR), Palm Beach County (FL), Pennington County (SD), and Shelby County (TN). With technical assistance and funding from the MacArthur Foundation, these jurisdictions are developing and modeling innovative and effective strategies to keep low-risk offenders out of jail, reintegrating those who must be confined back into the community upon release, and collaborating with system partners and the community to help them stay out of jail thereafter.
Strategies for achieving these goals include:
- the use of automated court-date reminder systems to reduce “failure to appear” rates,
- risk-based pretrial management systems so decisions for pretrial release or detention are based on standardized assessments of risk,
- improved case processing systems or the addition of case processing specialists,
- provision of legal identification cards and transportation to prearranged treatment and/or housing placements for individuals leaving custody, and
- addressing racial and ethnic disparities through implicit bias education.
To address the challenges of addiction and mental illness, many of the jurisdictions are turning to pre-arrest diversion programs and opening facilities that provide law enforcement partners with placement options for these arrest alternatives. Other law enforcement strategies include the use of citation in lieu of arrest, and risk tools to make point-of-arrest decisions that can help to reduce racial and ethnic disparity.
The IACP looks forward to continuing to work with and support the 40 jurisdictions involved in the Safety and Justice Challenge in their on-going efforts to model reforms that create fairer, more effective local justice systems across the United States.
To learn more about IACP’s efforts, visit http://www.theiacp.org/safetyandjustice. To see the press release from the MacArthur Foundation, go to http://www.safetyandjusticechallenge.org/2017/10/macarthurs-safety-justice-challenge-announces-additional-11-3-million-eight-jurisdictions-advance-local-criminal-justice-reforms/.