Milwaukee County Awarded Capstone Grant by MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge
Funding Will Support Ongoing Racial Equity, Community Engagement, and Data Initiatives at the Local Level
February 8, 2023 – The Milwaukee Community Justice Council (CJC) is the recipient of a three-year, $570,000 capstone grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant marks a total of $6.21 million invested in Milwaukee County as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), a $323 million national initiative to eliminate unnecessary jail use and racial inequities in local criminal justice systems.
Since being selected to join the SJC Network in 2016, the CJC has convened stakeholders to monitor jail trends and streamline case movement through the criminal legal system; expanded the continuum of care for system-involved persons with behavioral health needs; hired analysts to better utilize data for policymaking; added capacity for diversion and deferred prosecution agreements; launched a court reminder program; supported racial equity conferences; hosted reentry resource fairs; released community subgrants; and held a community dialogue series.
“The CJC is grateful for this capstone award and the continued partnership with MacArthur Foundation,” said Erin Perkins, CJC Safety and Justice Challenge Project Manager. “Local SJC partners are proud of our accomplishments over the last several years and have made great strides in shifting SJC-supported personnel and activities onto other resources, so they will continue beyond the life of the grant.”
Looking to the future, the CJC will leverage capstone funding to further support racial equity efforts, facilitate community engagement, complete strategic planning, sustain data capacity, and memorialize SJC work to date.
“Since 2007, the CJC has brought community and system partners to the table as we rethink criminal justice in Milwaukee,” said County Executive David Crowley. “Through its Safety and Justice Challenge, MacArthur Foundation provided a critical opportunity to deepen our collaborative work, implement necessary system change, and continually uplift the experience and voices of justice-involved residents. Moving forward, we will sustain our efforts to produce more equitable outcomes for system-impacted individuals and families, all while ensuring that our work is reflective of the community’s needs.”
This round of funding will promote sustainability at the county level of the strategies the CJC developed throughout its SJC participation.
More than seven years since its public launch, the SJC initiative has grown into a collaborative network of 74 sites in 33 states modeling and inspiring reforms to create more fair, just, and equitable local justice systems across the country.
“I am proud to celebrate and reflect on the progress made by the Safety and Justice Challenge cities and counties over the past seven years. This initiative shows that communities can bridge their differences in pursuit of a more equitable and just response to people in conflict with the law,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Criminal Justice. “With innovative and evidence-based solutions now in place, these communities have the framework to sustain their progress and the tools to respond to the challenges that lay ahead.”
More information about the work underway in Milwaukee County can be found on the CJC website as well as on www.SafetyandJusticeChallenge.org.