Nearly 12 million people are sent to local jails every year – and 75 percent of those in jail are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses such as traffic, property or public order violations.

By Emily Pickren.

To reduce our nation’s over-reliance on the prison industrial complex, and to change the way Americans think about and use jails, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently announced the Safety and Justice Challenge. This is a five-year, $75 million investment to help cities and counties create fairer, more effective local justice systems that improve public safety, save taxpayer money and lead to better social outcomes.

Through the Challenge, the MacArthur Foundation will provide funding to jurisdictions to design and implement plans for creating fairer, more effective local justice systems using innovative, collaborative and evidence-based solutions.

The National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education & Families is already working to help cities on juvenile justice reform to increase public safety and improve outcomes for youth. With support from the MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative, NLC is supporting city-led strategies that hold youth accountable for their actions in more effective, equitable and developmentally appropriate ways.

For more information and to learn how your city can be part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, read the MacArthur Foundation’s press release and download the request for proposals. Visit NLC’s website for more information on our work with cities to reform the juvenile justice system.

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Originally posted at CitiesSpeak.