Jail Reduction


The Center has long focused on building and supporting strategies that reduce both crime and incarceration, including Midtown Community Court, Red Hook Community Justice Center, Newark Community Solutions, Bronx Community Solutions, and Brooklyn Justice Initiatives. Many of these programs have been documented to reduce the use of jail by increasing the availability of meaningful alternatives, including community restitution and social services. The Center also provided research and strategic support to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform which recommended closing the Rikers Island jail facility and laid out a series of reforms to cut the city’s jail population in half in coming years.

In addition, the Center is engaged in two ambitious national justice-reform initiatives that seek to reduce the use of incarceration: the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, and The Price of Justice, a program of the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge

The Safety and Justice Challenge seeks to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. As part of the search for fairer, more effective alternatives, the Safety and Justice Challenge supports a network of local jurisdictions committed to finding ways to safely reduce jail populations. The Center provides expert technical assistance to five of the selected jurisdictions: Los Angeles County, New York City, the State of Connecticut, St. Louis County, and Palm Beach County.

Price of Justice Initiative

The Price of Justice: Rethinking the Consequences of Justice Fines and Fees is a project of the Bureau of Justice Assistance aimed at reexamining the justice system’s use of fines and fees. By helping jurisdictions ensure their justice fines and fees are consistent with constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process, the Center for Court Innovation will address areas of local and national concern—including the often disparate impact of fines and fees on defendants who cannot afford them. Technical assistance under this initiative will help jurisdictions grapple with the ways in which assessment and enforcement of fines and fees may waste justice system resources, trap people in cycles of poverty, perpetuate racial and socioeconomic inequalities, and compromise the integrity of the criminal justice system. Over a three-year period, California, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, and Washington will receive expert assistance from the Center for Court Innovation to develop innovative solutions to these issues.

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