Twenty jurisdictions across the U.S. will receive grants totaling $25 million to implement justice reforms in local jails, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today.
The funding includes grants of up to $3.5 million each over the next two years to 11 cities and counties,and grants of $150,000 apiece to nine additional jurisdictions to continue reform projects already underway and receive technical assistance.
The initiative, launched last year as the Safety and Justice Challenge, is aimed at at jumpstarting criminal justice reform at municipal and county facilities –which incarcerate more than 12 million Americans annually.
The two-year grants will subsidize projects exploring alternatives to incarceration, including mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment, as well as training for law enforcement.
The eleven jurisdictions selected to receive grants of between $1.5 million and $3.5 million represent broad diversity in size, geography and demographics–ranging from New York City to Pima County, Arizona—a reflection of the complex challenge facing jail reformers.
“Local jails—intended to hold people who pose a flight risk or threat to public safety—are instead warehousing people for non-violent offenses, or simply because they are too poor to post bail,” said the Safety and Justice Challenge statement.