Milwaukee County Awarded New Funding from MacArthur Foundation
Safety and Justice Challenge to Rethink Local Justice System
February 9, 2021 — By way of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council, Milwaukee County has been awarded a $1.34 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge initiative to continue building on efforts to rethink the local criminal justice system, prevent unnecessary jail use, and eliminate racial inequities.
The misuse and overuse of jails is one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in the United States. Jailing people who are not a danger to public safety or a flight risk only worsens the individual and societal costs of over-incarceration. It triggers long-lasting damages to communities and perpetuates systemic racism.
To address these critical issues, the Safety and Justice Challenge is supporting local leaders in 51 jurisdictions across 32 states who are implementing evidence-based solutions to prevent unnecessary jail use, advance racial equity, and eliminate ineffective, inefficient, and unjust practices.
Today, Milwaukee was one of 15 jurisdictions selected for additional funding based on the promise and progress of work to date. This new round of funding will provide continued support and expert technical assistance to strengthen and expand strategies that address the main drivers, and resulting racial inequities, of local jail incarceration.
In partnership with governmental and community partners, the CJC has outlined four strategies over the next two years to invest in a safer, more effective, and more equitable system:
- Case Processing increases efficiency and streamlines movement of cases through the criminal justice system;
- Expanded Data monitors trends in the criminal justice process, tracks SJC progress, and informs policy with accurate data;
- Mental Health Diversion diverts persons with behavioral health needs into community-based support services; and,
- Racial Equity convenes system and community partners to measurably reduce disparities through decision point analysis, shared priority-setting, and training.
We are proud to be part of a diverse network of jurisdictions across the nation modeling changes to safely address the ineffective and harmful use of jails.
For more information, please visit our Milwaukee County Safety and Justice Challenge webpage and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RethinkJails.