Through the Safety and Justice Challenge, Philadelphia has engaged in a collaborative and data-driven reform effort to reduce the size of the local jail population by 50% from 2015 to 2020, and reduce the rate of racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in the criminal justice system. Philadelphia has been awarded a total of $7.65 million from the MacArthur Foundation since 2015, including an additional $4 million award in 2018, and the City has invested more than $6 million to achieve these ambitious goals.
Despite recent system improvements and a steady reduction in the jail population, Philadelphia still has the highest incarceration rate of any large jurisdiction in the country. To address its overreliance on jails, Philadelphia will implement a range of strategies that will limit jail admissions, reduce case processing times, reduce violations of probation, and reduce its reliance on cash bail. The City will also create new opportunities to increase diversions at the point of arrest, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, and foster meaningful community engagement.