From the National Association of Counties

The MacArthur Foundation has announced an exciting opportunity to undertake local jail reform through its new Safety and Justice Challenge, a five-year $75 million investment that seeks to reduce over-incarceration in jails. 

The Challenge is looking to improve local criminal justice systems across the country and safely reduce jail incarceration - with a particular focus on addressing disproportionate impact on low-income individuals and communities of color. Selected sites will reveal new and better ways of targeting resources, more effective risk assessment to determine if confinement is really necessary, and better public safety returns and social outcomes.

Twenty sites will initially be selected to receive a grant of $150,000 to support an intensive six-month planning process, during which they will rigorously examine how their jails are being used and what strategies will reduce the inappropriate use of jail without compromising public safety. Each site will produce a plan for implementing these reforms. Then, beginning in 2016, as many as 10 of these jurisdictions will be selected for a second round of funding of up to $2 million to support implementation of their jail reduction plans.

The turn-around time on this is fairly short—applications are due March 31—so we are sending you this information and RFP right away. More information about the Challenge can be found here: and the RFP is available here:

For further guidance, the MacArthur Foundation will host three live webinars to walk applicants through how the competition will work and answer any queries you might have about the application process. The webinars will take place on the dates below; registration is necessary to participate. To register, send an email to and indicate which webinar you plan to attend:

Wednesday, February 25 from 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST

 Thursday, February 26 from 11:00am - 12:00pm EST

Tuesday, March 3 from 4:00pm - 5:00pm EST