The overuse of jails is one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in the United States.
About the Safety and Justice Challenge
Data on the Problem
Across the country, courts and other criminal justice partners are looking at ways to identify the drivers of over-incarceration and engage a diverse set of stakeholders to determine ways to improve local systems.
The Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) provides support to local leaders from across the country as they rethink jails with strategies that safely reduce jail populations and eliminate ineffective, inefficient, and unfair practices.
As a Strategic Ally to the Challenge, NCSC works with state court leaders and national judicial organizations to build awareness of this initiative and provide courts with resources and strategies they can use to improve effective use of jails and promote the need for jail reform.
Evidence-Based Judicial Decision Making Curriculum Toolkit
NCSC developed the Evidence-Based Judicial Decision Making Curriculum Toolkit in response to requests for information about pretrial and sentencing practices affecting persons facing potential local jail sentences. It is based on NCSC’s Evidence-Based Sentencing curriculum, originally developed in 2007, when the Conference of Chief Justices called for the adoption of state sentencing and corrections policies based on “evidence-based practices,” those shown through research to be effective in reducing recidivism.
The Toolkit is available here and includes the following:
State Activities to Advance Pretrial Justice Reform
Between May 2016 and November 2018, with SJC support, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) hosted a series of regional Pretrial Justice Reform Summits. This brief summarizes activities state have taken to advance reform since attending the summits.
The Challenge Network: 51 cities and counties, across 32 states, are modeling and inspiring reform.
Data on incarceration rates across the country
Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2020
The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration
County Roles and Opportunities in Reducing Mental Illness in Jails
Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Jails
Ten Steps to System Change
Reducing Reliance on Local Jails
From Silo to System: What Makes a Criminal Justice System Operate Like a System?
Federal Funding Alert: FY 2020 Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Reducing Violent Crime by Improving Justice Systems Performance - Due May 1, 2020. More information available here.
Partners and Strategic Allies in the Safety and Justice Challenge help implement this innovative work. Partners are organizations that provide Challenge Network sites with technical assistance, data analysis, and performance measurement. Strategic Ally organizations help the initiative communicate with important stakeholder groups whose support is needed.