More than two million people are held in American prisons and jails – the largest inmate population in the world. The number is growing daily, largely because of harsh federal and state sentencing laws and unnecessary jail detention of people awaiting trial in counties across the country. Most significantly, more than 60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. Locking up increasing numbers of people – disproportionately people of color – at great expense to taxpayers, and later releasing them with little access to rehabilitation and drug treatment services, has not made our streets safe.
The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Program supports groups working to reduce unnecessary incarceration of adult offenders in America. In particular, the Program makes grants to groups that are working to:
- Reform sentencing laws and parole and probation systems, including the use of diversion and alternatives to incarceration;
- Reform pretrial jail detention policies and practices;
- Develop and promote innovative strategies to reduce the overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice process.
Video: Seema Gajwani on pretrial detention reform – June 13, 2014
Pretrial Justice Leadership Convening – Oct 8, 2013
Video Interview: Julie Stewart of FAMM on Sentencing Policies – Aug 16, 2013
INFO GRAPHIC: Locking Up Too Many Americans for Too Long – Jul 10, 2013
Keeping Low-Risk People Out of Jail before Trial – Jun 2013 Newsletter
How the new healthcare law can improve the criminal justice system - Feb 26, 2014