Philadelphia's participation in the MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) seeks to safely reduce the local jail population by 50 percent in five years (from 2015-2020). This major reform effort also aims to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in the criminal justice system.
Philadelphia’s reform plan includes seven main strategies, each of which includes multiple new initiatives (30 initiatives total):
- Reduce the number of people incarcerated pretrial
- Create efficiencies in case processing that reduce length of stay
- Reduce the number of people held in jail on a probation detainer
- Reduce racial and ethnic disparities across the criminal justice system
- Reduce the number of people in jail with mental illness
- Increase cross-system data capacity
- Foster meaningful community engagement
Funding for the reform effort is provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. On October 24, 2018, the Foundation announced a $4 million grant to Philadelphia. This new grant follows a 2016 MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge Grant for $3.5 million. It will provide continued fiscal support that is critical for Philadelphia's efforts to safely reduce the jail population and reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
To learn more about the strategies for reform, see the reform plan details.