The Safety and Justice Challenge

The Safety and Justice Challenge is providing support to local leaders from across the country who are determined to tackle one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in America—the misuse and overuse of jails. 

In 2015, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation launched the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), a five-year, $148 million investment to change the way America thinks about and uses jails. Participating jurisdictions were selected through a competitive process and receive financial and technical support in their efforts to rethink justice systems and implement data-driven strategies to safely reduce jail populations.

JMI is a proud partner of the SJC since its inception and, along with Justice System Partners, Center for Court Innovation, and Vera Institute of Justice, provides site coordination and technical assistance to a number of sites in the Challenge Network, the network of participating jurisdictions of the SJC. Along with the sites and the organizations already mentioned, the SJC is comprised of a number of additional partner organizations including the SJC’s Strategic Allies.

In 2015, of the 191 jurisdictions who applied, 20 sites were chosen for the Challenge Network to develop comprehensive plans for reform efforts.  After this planning phase, sites were selected to receive implementation funding.  In 2017, 20 additional jurisdictions were selected for the Challenge Innovation Fund.  The Challenge Network now represents 52 cities and counties, across 32 states.

Through the SJC initiative, JMI has worked with the following sites as either the site coordinator organization or toward a specific strategy, such as case processing:

Check out JMI’s past posts on SJC-related efforts and events below:

  • Risk Assessment Validation in Shelby County, TennesseeClick here
  • Providing Collaborative Assistance under the Safety and Justice ChallengeClick here
  • JMI to Continue Working with the Safety and Justice ChallengeClick here
  • Public Opinion Poll Findings on JailsClick here
  • MacArthur Announces $25M in Grant Initiatives for Local Jail Reform – Click here
  • Equal Justice Under Law: Explicitly Addressing Race in the Criminal Justice SystemClick here
  • From Silo to SystemClick here
  • Twenty Jurisdictions Awarded $150,000Click here
  • Launch of the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice ChallengeClick here


For more information and to access a variety of resources and written materials, visit the SJC resources page.

For updates, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow the Safety and Justice Challenge on and .

Aimee WickmanThe Safety and Justice Challenge