Last week the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge announced $22 million in new funding to support 12 new cities and counties working to reduce incarceration and 13 sites already part of the growing national movement.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is proud to be part of the movement to rethink jails, working with and supporting the 52 jurisdictions. Three years after its launch, Challenge sites across the country are seeing the impact of reforms designed to create fairer, more effective justice systems that protect public safety. For example, Philadelphia has decreased its jail population by 36 percent and Cook County, Illinois by 26 percent.
For far too long, the misuse and overuse of jails has taken a heavy toll on families and communities. Rather than serving as a holding place for people who pose a flight risk or threat to public safety, jails have become warehouses for people with mental health and substance abuse issues, or those who simply cannot afford bail.
NLC looks forward to supporting the new cities and counties as they model reforms to create fairer, more effective local justice systems across the country. The new Safety and Justice Challenge sites include:
- Bernalillo County, New Mexico
- City of Long Beach, California
- Camden County, New Jersey
- Baltimore City/State of Maryland
- Cumberland County, Maine
- Norfolk County, Massachusetts
- Franklin County, Ohio
- Sangamon County, Illinois
- Gwinnett County, Georgia
- City of St. Louis, Missouri
- Hennepin County, Minnesota
- Tulsa County, Oklahoma
“Connection to Care Initiative (C2C) is a great example of how the City of Long Beach is leveraging existing local and county resources to disrupt the cycle of incarceration at a municipal level,” said Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach, California. “I look forward to seeing how our city departments continue to work together through the Justice Lab to improve public safety and provide our residents in need with treatment and services.”
Visit NLC’s justice reform webpage, the Safety and Justice Challenge webpage and related press release to learn more. You can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RethinkJails. For more information, contact Tara Dhanraj, senior associate for Justice Reform, at Dhanraj@nlc.org
About the author: Tara Dhanraj is a Senior Associate for Justice Reform at the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.