Philly got a $4 million MacArthur Foundation Grant – On top of Philly news
The city will use it to continue criminal justice reform efforts, including reducing the prison population.
For 15 years, Philadelphia’s prison system has held more inmates than it was built for. Though now, after changes have been implemented in the last year as part of the MacArthur process, the Philadelphia prison system now holds about 7,400 inmates, which is the lowest it’s been in a decade. Still, three quarters of the people incarcerated wait six months or more in prison before being sentenced, which costs Philadelphia taxpayers well over $100 million a year.
The Vera Institute of Justice estimates more than seven in ten people in local jails are there for non-violent offenses, while low-income residents and racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately make up the jail population.
Six main strategies should significantly decrease the prison population in Philadelphia; each includes detailed plans and programming to streamline the criminal justice process:
- Address over-incarceration of pre-trial defendants
- Create efficiencies in case processing
- Address violations of community supervision
- Reduce racial and ethnic disparities
- Address special populations, and
- Improve data capacity.
The largest chunk of funding — $3,022,049 over three years — address over-incarceration at the pre-trial stage. This means improving and upgrading alternatives to cash bail and increasing the use of electronic monitoring. There’s also funding earmarked to develop a pre-trial “risk tool.”