Rethinking Jails and Behavioral Health: Strategies, Challenges, and Successes Midway through the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge

Rethinking Jails and Behavioral Health: Strategies, Challenges, and Successes Midway through the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, authored by PRI Senior Project Associate Ashley Krider, examines the behavioral health strategies implemented by sites participating in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s (MacArthur Foundation) Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC).

The SJC began in 2015, with a commitment to provide support to local leaders determined to address the overuse of jails in America. Through a competitive solicitation process and multiple rounds of funding, the initiative has grown to include over 50 jurisdictions, known as Network Sites, across 32 states. The MacArthur Foundation engaged PRI to provide intensive technical assistance to Network Sites on issues related to the over-incarceration of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.

As part of their participation in the SJC, Network Sites developed formal implementation plans containing multiple jail reduction strategies. Many sites included strategies that focused on the over-incarceration of individuals with behavioral health needs. This report examines Network Sites’ behavioral health strategies, challenges, and successes as the initiative enters its 5-year mark.

This resource was first shared in 2020.

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