Blogs

istockphoto-885605936-2048x2048-1.jpg
Be the first person to like this.
There is new hope in St. Louis County for people afraid to move on with their lives or engage with the criminal justice system because of unresolved warrants, municipal code violations, or having missed a court date. The center, which is part of a national effort to lower jail populations in jurisdictions across the country as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), aids in responding to concerns raised by the Department of Justice (DOJ) about racial injustice related to municipal court practices in its 2015 investigation into the Ferguson Police Department —which is located in the northern part of St. Louis County. The DOJ commissioned a report ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Members of the Safety and Justice Challenge grappled with questions about how mass incarceration is linked to Black history at a recent fireside chat during the annual convening of SJC network members. Bria L. Gillum , Senior Program Officer, Criminal Justice with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation hosted the conversation with Kelly Lytle Hernandez , a professor of History and African American Studies at University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a member of the SJC Advisory Council and a MacArthur Fellow. Bria asked Kelly how she uses her journey as a historian and professor to think about mass incarceration. Kelly began by acknowledging ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
March is Women’s History Month, and the picture for women in America’s jails remains troubling. Focusing on women in jails is an important part of the work of the Safety and Justice Challenge as it seeks to reduce jail populations across the country. Here are just a few examples of the challenges women face in jail. We Lock Up More Women Than Any Other Country Only 4% of the world’s female population lives in the U.S., but the U.S. accounts for 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. Such an alarming disparity should prompt us to consider how our policies and practices are contributing to it. Nearly half of the 231,000 women and girls locked up in the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
It’s been two years since the United States began to shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we continue in our mission to reduce jail populations across the United States, the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) asked some of our strategic allies to reflect on lessons learned from the pandemic. Systems Adapted to Release More People and Take on New Challenges Criminal justice systems across the country adapted to keep people safe. “They worked in partnership to reduce arrests and bookings, and they increased releases,” said Wendy Ware, vice president of the JFA Institute . Some jurisdictions made changes to their bail protocols. Others relied ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Recognizing that too many people spend too much time in jails across America when their deeper need is for behavioral health treatment, counties are deploying innovative programs to help address this problem. To better support community members living with a behavioral health condition such as mental illness and/or substance use disorders, many counties are developing and implementing integrated behavioral health continuums of care. Building an effective behavioral health care continuum targets the root causes of behavioral health emergencies by investing in comprehensive and accessible prevention, treatment, and real-time intervention. With almost one in ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Cities and counties participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) significantly reduced their jail populations over the past few years – both prior to and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite that progress, racial and ethnic disparities in jails persist. Today the SJC has selected four jurisdictions to join a new Racial Equity Cohort based on proposals that explicitly focus on racial and ethnic equity in the criminal justice system; center lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color; and emphasize the SJC Community Engagement Pillars of authenticity, accessibility and transparency, respect for diversity, and commitment ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but the commitment of the Safety and Justice Challenge to improving racial equity in the jail system runs year-round. With that in mind, here are a dozen blogs on racial justice written by members of the effort and featured over the last year. Exploring the Difference Between Racial Equality and Racial Equity. Christopher James with the Haywood Burns Institute defined the terms of the debate: “To start treating, say, the Black community ‘the same as everyone else’ at this point in history will not go far enough in terms of achieving true equality,” he wrote. The Catalyzing Impact of George Floyd’s Death on Criminal ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
The last two years have been turbulent for all our partners in the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), particularly for the cities and counties that have committed to reducing their jail population and eliminating racial and ethnic inequities as part of the SJC Network. Communities participating in SJC range from the small (Missoula, MT) to the immense (Los Angeles, CA), and they vary demographically, politically, geographically, and in every other way you can imagine. But the COVID-19 pandemic touched all of them. It brought with it death and economic disruption, as it has everywhere. It also brought change and opportunity. By forcing local systems to adopt ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
A new research paper from the Square One Project at Columbia University offers the first comprehensive review of experimental social policy interventions that can end mass incarceration. The review demonstrates that greater investments in healthcare, education, employment, housing and social services – as well as increased scientific rigor in implementation – are needed to effectively decarcerate. My colleagues Emily Wang, Laura Hawks, Lisa Puglisi, and I reviewed more than 23,000 research articles to produce the paper, “ Towards A New Framework for Achieving Decarceration: A Review of the Research Literature on Social Investments .” We sought to answer the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
For decades, the United States has responded to social issues like mental health and substance use crises, chronic homelessness, and ongoing cycles of interpersonal violence with jail incarceration rather than pursuing innovative strategies that are better suited to address the root causes of these issues. Jail incarceration has disrupted the lives of millions of people—disproportionately harming Black, Indigenous, and people of color—without improving public safety. There is a better way. Communities can instead invest in agencies and organizations that address these issues outside the criminal justice system. The proven solutions highlighted in a new report ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Historically and up to today, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and people residing in neighborhoods of historic divestment, are more likely to be harmed by public safety systems. To truly reimagine public safety, cities must acknowledge these harms and take actionable steps, alongside their residents, toward transformation. In 2020 the names of people lost to police violence became synonymous with the movement toward justice. These tragic losses prompted a long overdue conversation with local leaders. They realized they could no longer treat public safety as solely a function of law enforcement. The recent upticks in violent crime in many cities, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Probation is the most common sentence in the United States. In 2019, one in 73 adults was on probation , and there were almost 1.5 million more people on probation than in jails and prisons combined . Although the problems of “mass supervision,” particularly the way probation violations contribute to state prison populations, have begun to draw greater critical attention, there is very little information about how probation contributes to local jail populations. A new report released by the Vera Institute of Justice, with support from the Safety and Justice Challenge, focuses on the ways probation can affect jail populations and what can be done differently. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
Hispanic Heritage month is an important time to reflect on Hispanic Heritage generally, including how far we still have to go to ensure equitable inclusion and access to justice. One aspect of this is to understand the overrepresentation of and disparate outcomes for people of color, including Latino/Latina/Latinx folks involved in the criminal legal system. Accurate data is needed for that. Yet, remarkably, we do not know how many Hispanic and Latino people are arrested or how many are incarcerated in the United States because we are not collecting the data. Research by the Urban Institute shows 40 states report race in arrest records, but only 15 report ethnicities ...
0 comments
Be the first person to like this.
October 11, 2021, marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day—a tradition first instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992 as a counter-celebration to the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas and the federal holiday honoring him. The goal of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is to recenter Indigenous people’s stories, celebrating their culture and history, and to highlight the grave impact that Columbus and colonialism had on them. This year, the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) is using the day to highlight the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in jails across the country while we are also actively pursuing solutions. ...
0 comments