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  • Pima County awarded additional $1.8 Million by Macarthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge to advance local justice system reform

    Jan 30, 2019 | Read More News
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    File: Pima County Adult Detention ComplexThe Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge is the recipient of a $1.8 million grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to continue building on efforts to advance local criminal justice system reform and safely reduce Pima County’s jail population, bringing the Foundation’s total investment in Pima County to $3.3 million to date. The grant is part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $157 million national initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
    The Safety and Justice Challenge is supporting local leaders in Pima County and across the country determined to tackle one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in America – the misuse and overuse of jails. Pima County was first selected to join the collaborative Safety and Justice Challenge Network in 2015 and has since used the resources and funding provided by the Challenge to implement bold reforms, including Warrant Resolution Courts on nights and weekends; pre-trial screenings; an automated call, text and email court-date reminder system;; creation of a multi-disciplinary criminal justice jail population review committee and probation jail reduction committee, creation of a “data team” focusing specifically on criminal justice issues; enhanced case processing; increased community engagement including listening sessions with regional tribal nations and improved job training and workforce development for inmates. 
    Today, Pima County was one of six jurisdictions selected for additional funding based on the promise and progress of work to date. This new round of funding will provide Pima County and partners with additional support and continued expert technical assistance to strengthen and expand strategies that address the main drivers of local jail incarceration, with the goal of finding appropriate alternatives to incarceration, such as treatment and counseling and further reducing Pima County’s average daily jail population from a jail capacity of 2377 to a 1574 average daily population by 2021.

    File: Safety and Justice Challenge forum“It has been very gratifying, but not surprising, to see the remarkable level of cooperation and collaboration between the MacArthur Foundation, Pima County and our partners from all aspects of the criminal justice system and the community as a whole,” County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “There’s been a real leadership at all levels and real commitment to find solutions and, when necessary, make tough choices.”
    In partnership with local law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys, the treatment community, tribal nations, religious leaders and concerned members of the community, including formerly incarcerated individuals, Pima County has developed a comprehensive plan for additional reform strategies over the next two years. Key strategies and initiatives to achieve this goal and create a safer, more effective system include:
    • Improving court processing to increase efficiency 
    • Reducing racial and ethnic disparities
    Three years after its public launch, the Challenge Network has grown into a collaborative of 52 counties, cities, and states modeling and inspiring reforms to create fairer, more effective local justice systems across the country.

    "There is a growing demand for criminal justice reform to bend the curve of incarceration in the United States and achieve fairer, more equitable outcomes for our families and communities,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur’s Director of Justice Reform. “While progress is not always easy, jurisdictions across the country are proving it is possible to rethink local justice systems from the ground up with forward-looking, smart solutions that address racial and ethnic disparities while engaging communities in reform efforts. MacArthur is increasing our investment in these cities and counties because we are seeing promising results and an appetite for more reform as evidenced by the diversity and creativity of the solutions implemented and tested across the Challenge Network.”

    File: Safety and Justice Challenge funding announcementq“We all share the same goals: keep people out of jail who don’t belong there or who can be meaningfully rehabilitated through alternatives to incarceration” Assistant County Administrator Wendy Petersen said. “This helps both individuals dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues, and benefits the entire community by making them productive member and easing the strain on public resources.”

    Several of the nation's leading criminal justice organizations will continue to provide technical assistance and counsel to the Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge, Pima County partners, and the other jurisdictions involved in the Challenge: the Center for Court Innovation, the Institute for State and Local Governance at the City University of New York, the Justice Management Institute, Justice System Partners, the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Vera Institute of Justice, Policy Research, Inc., and the W. Haywood Burns Institute.
    More information about the work underway in Pima County can be found on Pima County Safety and Justice Challenge webpage as well as on the Safety and Justice Challenge website.