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Safety + Justice Challenge (SJC) – What is it?
  • The Safety + Justice Challenge is an initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.
  • The Safety + Justice Challenge is supporting a network of competitively selected local jurisdictions committed to finding ways to safely reduce jail incarceration.
  • The initiative – an initial five-year, $100 million investment by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – features a competition to help jurisdictions across the country create fairer, more effective local justice systems.
Lucas County’s Challenge
  • Reduce local pre- and post-sentence jail population by 29% - 32%
  • Improve community safety
  • Address racial and ethnic disparities
Lucas County's Success
Average daily population graph
  • More than half of the individuals released from the jail have mental illness and/or substance use needs. Low-level offenders represent 25% of the jail population, and African Americans make up 57% of those held in jail for the three most common misdemeanor charges.
  • African Americans make up 19% of the general county population, yet represent 58% of custodial arrests over the last five years.
  • Pretrial release options and case processing time impact average length of stay in jail
  • An estimated 32% of the sentenced jail population is incarcerated due to technical violations of probation.
  • Expanded diversion opportunities for low-level offenses and continued law enforcement training on topics including implicit bias and procedural justice to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities.
  • Increased access to risk assessment scores will be used to inform who is in the jail and electronic monitoring will continue to be offered as a release alternative.
  • The Population Review Team continues to address expedited case processing, and a collaboration between public defenders and case managers better connects those with felony charges to mental health, housing, and substance use resources.
  • A coordinator facilitated collaboration among probation authorities to achieve better outcomes for probationers, reducing violations resulting in a return to jail which led to the hiring of a suburban ORAS officer.
Lucas County's roadmap to criminal justice reform
Investment in Lucas County
Planning Grant - $150,000
Implementation Grant 1 - $1,850,000 (includes $100,000 gap function)
Implementation Grant 2 - $1,650,000
Lucas County SJC Strategies
  • One – Law Enforcement Practices
  • Two – Managing Based on Risk
  • Three – Expedited Case Processing
  • Four – Diversion of Underserved Populations
  • Five – Coordinated Community Corrections Practices
  • Six – Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities
Representation of African Americans in the Lucas County Justice System (Average 2010-2014)

Get Involved – Fostering Meaningful Community Engagement

Lucas County will engage community members in the reform process through virtual community listening sessions, focus groups, and discussions on criminal justice reform and racial equity. Sessions focus on residents, advocates and community stakeholders who live, work and spend down time in the following zip codes: 43604, 43607, 43608, 43610

Residents, advocates and stakeholders who reside within Lucas County but may not live within the targeted zip codes are welcome to participate as well. We seek the help of anchor institutions who operate within the targeted zip codes, including those directly impacted by crime and violence.

Sessions will begin September 2020 and run through December 2020. To receive information about these sessions, sign up here for our email list.

Lucas County Community Engagement Subcommittee

Lucas County criminal justice partners will establish Community Engagement Subcommittee (CES) that continues to inform the implementation of new jail reduction initiatives, ensure that they are responsive to the needs of diverse community stakeholders, and strengthen support for the county’s criminal justice reform efforts. The CES is comprised of individuals that represent a broad range of perspectives on criminal justice reform.

Criminal Justice Innovation Fund

The Lucas County Safety + Justice Challenge Initiative, in collaboration with the criminal justice partners, will establish a Criminal Justice Innovation Fund to provide microgrants to community-based organizations that are doing innovative work to further criminal justice reform.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the Lucas County Safety + Justice Challenge, please contact us by completing this form:

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