St. Louis County, Mo., is one of 20 local governments getting a $150,000 MacArthur Foundation grant to create a plan to reform its jail system. If selected as one of the 10 most worthwhile proposals, the county would then receive from $500,000 to $2 million annually to implement changes, starting in 2016 and lasting as long as five years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. MacArthur is scheduled to announce the other initial winners today. Connecticut said it was the only state government to get a grant, the Hartford Courant reports.
Nearly 200 governments from 45 states submitted applications for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge. St. Louis County has been under a national spotlight since the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson brought attention to law enforcement in suburban African-American neighborhoods. Nasser Arshadi, vice provost for research at the University of Missouri St. Louis, said St. Louis County's application played up the need for standardization among 90 municipalities, 62 police departments and 32 jails. “There has been a lot of soul-searching going on in our region and other places about what can be done,” he said. “There is pent-up demand in the region for justice reform.”