Safety And Justice Challenge To Create Fairer, more Effective Local Justice Systems

February 1, 2017

20 Counties and Cities Receive Grants to Design, Test Innovative Criminal Justice Reforms

Chicago, IL, February 1, 2017 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced that 20 additional jurisdictions will join the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national $100 million initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. The jurisdictions will design and test innovative local justice reforms to safely drive down jail usage and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their local justice systems.

The jurisdictions expand the membership of the Safety and Justice Challenge Network, a collaborative of counties, cities, and states modeling and inspiring reforms to create fairer, more effective local justice systems across the country. Through the Challenge’s Innovation Fund, the 20 jurisdictions will receive support and expert technical assistance in designing and implementing local reforms. Their innovations will range in focus from crisis intervention to behavioral health to pretrial release and supervision. Projects that will receive support include gender-responsive risk and needs assessment, culture-based case management and recidivism reduction approaches, and enhanced services for people with mental illness involved with the justice system.

“Local jurisdictions are leading the way on justice reform,” said MacArthur 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.”

The Innovation Fund jurisdictions expand the Challenge’s reach into new states and deepen its work across the country. They include:

  • Adams County, CO
  • Allegheny County, PA
  • City of Atlanta, GA
  • Broward County, FL
  • Buncombe County, NC
  • Campbell County, TN
  • Clark County, NV
  • Dane County, WI
  • State of Delaware
  • Deschutes County, OR
  • Durham County, NC
  • East Baton Rouge Parish, LA
  • Lake County, IL
  • Minnehaha County, SD
  • Missoula County, MT
  • Polk County, IA
  • City and County of San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Clara County, CA
  • Summit County, OH
  • Yakima County, WA

The Innovation Fund jurisdictions receive short-term support of $50,000 each, are eligible for future funding opportunities, and have access to the resources, peer learning opportunities, and expertise of the Safety and Justice Challenge Network. The Urban Institute, which is managing the Innovation Fund in partnership with the Foundation, will provide expert technical assistance to the jurisdictions as they implement their plans. Key learnings and resources emerging from the Innovation Fund will be shared with and beyond the justice reform field.


About the MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. More information about the Foundation’s criminal justice reform work can be found at

About the Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.

Media Contact:

Meredith Klein

(312) 516-1557