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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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