Last week, the MacArthur Foundation announced that its Safety and Justice Challenge – an effort to reduce the misuse and overuse of jails nationwide – would expand to 12 new jurisdictions, including Baltimore City.
With its $50,000 grant award, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which operates the Baltimore City jail, will create a dashboard to improve information sharing among the key stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including the courts, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Public Defender, and the Baltimore Police Department, among others. The increased transparency and information sharing will help all parties quickly identify who is in the jail at any given time and whether they can and should be released while awaiting trial. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people held pretrial unnecessarily without jeopardizing public safety.
Open Society Institute-Baltimore played a key role in bringing this funding to Baltimore, working with public safety leaders to convene the various stakeholders, get buy-in for the collaborative effort, and inform the proposal that won the grant award.