Lucas County awards $ 100,000 to criminal justice reform groups


MacArthur Safety + Justice Challenge funds will move from the justice system to the community.

TOLEDO, Ohio – A new criminal justice reform grant program is underway in Lucas County. It will transfer funds received under the MacArthur Foundation Safety + Justice Challenge out of the justice system and into the hands of the community.

Lucas County Commissioners announced that $ 100,000 in grants will go to community groups to support criminal justice reform and address racial disparities in local prisons.

The grants – up to $ 10,000 each – will be awarded to organizations that do innovative work in criminal justice and the program aims to advance the county’s goals of participating in the MacArthur Foundation’s National Security + Justice Challenge.

As part of the grant fund, community groups will receive funding for programs in Toledo postal codes 43604, 43607, 43608 and 43610.

These funds will strengthen the capacity of organizations to deliver a community-based approach to addressing racial disparities in local prisons and providing equitable solutions that improve security and justice.

The first step in the process is to submit a proposal. The form is available at Proposals can also be mailed or filed with Lucas County Commissioners, Government Center, Suite 800, Toledo, Ohio 43604

Proposals must be submitted by noon on November 22 and applicants will be notified by December 16 that they have been awarded a grant. The funded projects will start on January 1, 2022.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria: Applicants must have a valid 501 (c) (3) non-profit status or be a partner of a non-profit organization that can serve as a fiscal sponsor. Applicants must file a grant funding report.

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“After six years, we are taking the money for the MacArthur Safety + Justice Challenge out of the justice system and putting it back into the hands of the community to make changes. While we have done a great job of reducing the prison population, we have not effectively reduced the disparity in arrests in communities of color. If we want to solve this problem, we need the help of the community. With these grants, we can help start this process, ”Commissioner Pete Gerken said in a press release.

Lucas County was first selected to join the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge network program in 2015. More than 40 community members and residents expressed their thoughts in listening sessions. From there, Lucas County Commissioners decided to launch the Grant Fund for Community Organizations.

“We cannot assume that good ideas on criminal justice reform come only from government. In fact, we need to further facilitate the discussion for a process that includes the community to reflect on how we reform our legal system. We believe that supporting community organizations is a step in building trust and bringing more people into the process of improving our justice system, ”said Commissioner Gary L. Byers .

Since joining the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge in 2015, Lucas County has advanced local criminal justice reform and reduced the local prison population by 42% while maintaining public safety. To date, Lucas County has received $ 4.6 million as part of the Safety + Justice Challenge.

“Lucas County has made great strides in reducing the local prison population. However, much remains to be done to address the over-incarceration of people in black and brown communities, ”said Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.

“It is important that we, as a community, work together through innovative methods and programs to improve public safety and address racial and ethnic disparities in our prisons. “

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