Summit County and the city of Akron have been selected to participate in the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative to reduce over-incarceration by rethinking how jails are used.
The initiative, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provides money for 20 jurisdictions to test justice reforms aimed at reducing jail usage and racial and ethnic disparities.
Summit County will receive $50,000 in funding through the challenge, as well as support and assistance in creating and implementing local reforms. In addition, the Urban Institute, which is managing the Innovation Fund, will provide technical assistance.
"Local jurisdictions are leading the way on justice reform," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch, in a release. "Demand for reform at the local level is considerable and growing, as evidenced by the number, diversity, and creativity of the applications we received. This momentum is encouraging, particularly as the federal justice reform landscape evolves and shifts."
Summit County plans to focus on regulating the jail population through a process that allows law enforcement officers to issue summons to eligible low-level, non-violent felony offenders in lieu of arrest, says the county.
"We are eager to partner with the County in implementing this grant and to test innovative reforms that will safely reduce unnecessary incarceration in the greater Akron area," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a release. "This program will allow eligible, non-violent low-level - and often low-income - offenders to avoid jail time and reserve limited taxpayer resources and incarceration space for those offenders who pose a danger to the public."
For a complete list of selected jurisdictions, or for more information about the Safety and Justice Challenge, visit www.SafetyandJusticeChallenge.org.
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