Growing and Sustaining Progress in Five Counties

February 16, 2022

To help build a more fair, just, and equitable local criminal justice system, MacArthur is providing $3.6 million in additional Safety and Justice Challenge funding to five communities. The funding is part of a nationwide initiative to safely reduce jail populations and eliminate racial inequities.

Since 2015, we have awarded nearly $300 million to organizations participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge. The communities that we have invested most significantly in have reduced their jail populations by an average of 25 percent, exceeding the pace of reform nationally.

These five cities and counties will receive additional funding:

The grants to these cities and counties will support local leaders, people most impacted by the justice system, and broader communities to address misuse and overuse of jails locally. The funding, along with access to expert technical assistance, will allow these communities to strengthen and expand strategies that will address the main drivers of pretrial incarceration and racial inequities in their local justice system.

“The progress made by the Safety and Justice Challenge over the past six years is extraordinary. Across the country, communities have worked to address the drivers of incarceration, reduced their jail populations, and confronted systemic racism,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Criminal Justice. “We are committed to supporting these jurisdictions and organizations as they work to sustain their progress and pursue smart, data-driven strategies to safely reduce jail populations and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in jails.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, cities and counties safely reduced the number of people held in their jails. Two years after this effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in jails, communities participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge are working to grow and sustain this progress. The grants announced today will help Cook, Multnomah, Pennington, Shelby, and Ada counties with this effort.