SF Banks Another $1.2 Million Designed to Reduce Jail Population and Benefit City’s Criminal Justice System 

By Jonathan Lewis

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The MacArthur Foundation announced a $1.2 million grant to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office last week that San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins plans to use to continue the county’s efforts in reducing jail populations.

“Through the Safety and Justice Challenge, San Francisco is showing that criminal justice system partners can work collaboratively to effectively balance pursuing smart reforms while ensuring public safety and accountability is achieved,” said DA Jenkins in a news release.

The release noted John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation launched the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2015, which spans 33 states and 74 sites.

San Francisco and its many agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Superior Court, Public Defender’s Office, and the Adult Probation Department have been participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge since 2017, the statement said.

Through this program, San Francisco aims to tackle “one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in America – the misuse and overuse of jails,” according to the DA’s office.

San Francisco has made substantial progress in its efforts to reform their criminal justice system, the DAO said, noting the outdated and unsafe County Jail #4, built in 1961, was closed in 2020 after “the City and County of San Francisco safely reduced the jail population by 33 percent.”

San Francisco has received a total of $5,250,000 towards the Safety and Justice Challenge, which is part of the “$323 million national initiative to reduce over-incarceration and eliminate racial inequities in local criminal justice systems by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails,” said the DA’s office.

The office added the core strategies of San Francisco’s Safety and Justice Challenge involve “reducing racial disparities, sustaining a shared focus, improving case processing, increasing connections to health services, and using data to drive decision making.”

San Francisco received the grant because of its success in the program and was part of only 11 jurisdictions chosen to receive more money, the DAO statement noted.

“I am proud to celebrate and reflect on the progress made by the Safety and Justice Challenge cities and counties over the past seven years,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Criminal Justice.

Garduque added, “We look forward to supporting these jurisdictions as they continue to pursue smart, data-driven strategies to safely reduce jail populations and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in jails.”

About The Author

Jonathan is a second year student at UC Davis majoring in Managerial Economics and minoring in Political Science and History.

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