JMI is happy to announce the continuation of its work with the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC). Over the past two years, JMI has provided technical assistance to five SJC sites, selected from nearly 200 applicants through a competitive process, to engage in a robust planning and implementation process to significantly reduce local jail populations and address racial and ethnic disparities. Each of these sites has begun implementing systemic changes in their criminal justice system—from issuing citations in lieu of arrest to pretrial risk assessment and case processing improvements to enhanced data capacities. We are excited to begin seeing how these efforts are starting to impact jail populations and we are looking forward to continuing this rewarding work not only with the sites receiving the SJC grants, but to participate in elevating the national conversation about incarceration and racial and ethnic disparity and help to develop and implement strategies that reduce the overuse and misuse of jails.
Through the award of the new grant the MacArthur Foundation announced this summer, JMI will continue to work on the SJC and its overarching goals to: (1) sustainably and safely reduce the use of jails; (2) reduce racial and ethnic disparities that exist in jails; and (3) generate and model practical and credible new approaches to local crime control—notably those that use incarceration fairly, only when necessary, and that include a range of effective alternatives, as part of a balanced set of responses to crime. Over the next two years, JMI’s work on the SJC will focus on the following:
- Provide on-going monitoring and support for jail reduction and RED strategy implementation;
- Facilitate community engagement strategies that invite critical perspectives into these system change initiatives and that build an ongoing constituency to maintain and sustain jail reduction and the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities;
- Provide subject matter expertise to assigned sites and, upon request, to other SJC sites;
- Identify, anticipate, and address gaps or consequences that negatively impact the site’s ability to meet its jail and RED reduction targets; and
- Build capacity for organizational cultural and systemic change horizontally among justice system leadership and vertically within each system component to ensure that policy changes translate into the intended practice changes.
Over the coming months, JMI will be highlighting the work of each of our SJC sites through the newsletter. Stay tuned!