MacArthur Foundation Awards $18 Million in Grants to Rethink Local Justice Systems and Advance Racial Equity New Research Confirms Decline in Jail Populations Among Cities and Counties Participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge Chicago, IL, February 9, 2021 – Building on
Using independent data, researchers found that a 2017 general order by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County increased the number of people released pretrial and was not associated with any significant change in new criminal activity, violent or otherwise.
There are concerns about plea bargaining’s role in fueling mass incarceration. The Vera Institute of Justice, with support from the Safety and Justice Challenge, examined the small but growing body of empirical studies that has developed around plea bargaining.
On any given night in the United States, more than 550,000 people are experiencing homelessness. Among these, 96,000 are chronically homeless, meaning they are facing long and repeated episodes of homelessness that make it increasingly difficult to return to housing. The time has come for local justice systems to take immediate action to halt the cycle of homelessness and jail incarceration.
The Overuse of Jails Hurts Our Communities
The primary purpose of jails is to detain those awaiting trial who are a danger to public safety or a flight risk. Jailing someone who is neither results in huge costs for families and communities—particularly communities of color—including lost income, parents separated from their children, untreated mental health and substance abuse problems, a greater risk of re-offending, and wasted taxpayer dollars.
A total of 191 applications were submitted to the Challenge from jurisdictions spanning 45 states. Meet the 51 that were selected to participate in the Challenge Network.
A focus of the Safety and Justice Challenge is reducing racial disparities amongst the pretrial jail population. We have made progress on reducing overall jail populations, but racial disparities remain pervasive and need our collective focus. Thus it is important