Jurisdictions Selected for the MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge Network

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Safety and Justice logo

As part of its bold $75 million Safety and Justice Challenge to change the way America thinks about and uses jails, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently announced the 20 jurisdictions selected to receive $150,000 planning grants.

The MacArthur Foundation created the initiative to support more just and effective local justice systems that improve public safety, save taxpayer money and yield more fair outcomes. Cities in the Safety and Justice Challenge Network include New Orleans, Philadelphia and New York City. Sixteen counties and one statewide system (Connecticut) were also selected. 

View the full list of Challenge Networks sites.

This group will now compete for an additional 10 grants – each between $500,000 and $2 million annually, depending on the size of the jurisdiction – to implement their plans for reform.

Several of the nation's leading criminal justice organizations will provide technical assistance and counsel to the 20 jurisdictions as they prepare their comprehensive plans for local reform: the Center for Court Innovation, CUNY Institute for State & Local Governance, the Justice Management Institute, Justice System Partners, the Pretrial Justice Institute and the Vera Institute of Justice.

In light of the large-scale response received to the Challenge competition (nearly 200 applications were submitted from jurisdictions throughout 45 states), and in an effort to build a broad network of jurisdictions across the country that are engaged in local justice reform, the Foundation plans to create new opportunities – open to additional jurisdictions across the country – for funding to support training, technical assistance and promising local innovations that seek to reduce the misuse and overuse of jails.

In addition, a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice, The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration, documents the opportunity local governments have to safely cut the exorbitant costs of jails and jail systems by reducing the number of people who enter and stay in jails. By examining the decisions made by police, prosecutors, judges and community corrections officials, the report contends that jurisdictions will be able to reduce the size of their jails, save resources and make the investments necessary to address the health and social service needs of their communities. The research and report were supported by the Safety and Justice Challenge.

For more information please contact Laura Furr, Program Manager for Justice Reform and Youth Engagement at the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.

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