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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.
  • Download Safety + Justice Challenge Overview

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 funding)
Implementation Grant 2 - $1,650,000
Sustainability Funding - $960,000

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)