Safety and Justice Challenge

Law enforcement leaders are critical stakeholders in their local criminal justice systems, and have a powerful voice to contribute to any conversation about criminal justice system reform.  IACP is a Strategic Ally in support of the law enforcement stakeholders participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC), an initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to encourage the creation of just and effective local criminal justice systems.  With an initial five-year, $75 million investment, the MacArthur Foundation is supporting a network of competitively selected jurisdictions committed to finding ways to safely reduce jail populations.

Jurisdictions participating in the Challenge will develop and model effective ways to keep low risk offenders out of jail, more effectively reintegrate those who must be confined into the community upon release, and work with system partners and community members to help guide their implementation strategies and provide additional outreach and education opportunities.

Strategies for achieving these goals include increased use of alternatives to arrest and incarceration for people dealing with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and homelessness; automated court-date reminder systems to reduce “failure to appear” rates; and the use of risk-based pretrial management systems so that decisions for pretrial release or detention are based on standardized assessments of risk.

Implementation Sites
                              Innovation Fund Sites 
 Ada Co., ID        New York, NY        Adams Co., CO        Durham Co., NC 
 Charleston Co., SC        Palm Beach Co., FL        Allegheny Co., PA         East Baton Rouge Parish, LA 
 Cook Co., IL        Pennington Co., SD        Atlanta, GA        Lake Co., IL
 Harris Co., TX        Philadelphia, PA        Broward Co., FL        Minnehaha Co., SD
 Los Angeles Co., CA        Pima Co., AZ        Buncombe Co., NC        Missoula Co., MT
 Lucas Co., OH        Shelby Co., TN        Campbell Co., TN        Polk Co., IA
 Mecklenburg Co., NC        Spokane Co., WA        Clark Co., NV        City and Co. of San Francisco, CA
 Milwaukee Co., WI        St. Louis Co., MO        Dane Co., WI        Santa Clara Co., CA
 Multnomah Co., OR        State of Connecticut        State of Delaware        Summit Co., OH
 New Orleans, LA                Deschutes Co., OR        Yakima Co., WA



Role of the IACP

The IACP supports participating Challenge jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies through the following activities:

  • Through a peer network composed of law enforcement officials from the Challenge sites, the IACP acts as a liaison among these agencies and provides a conduit for sharing their strategies, successes, and challenges with other law enforcement agencies across the country though a variety of media, including publications, blogs, social media, webinars, and conference presentations.  
  • Identifying and developing promising law enforcement strategies for safely reducing arrests and incarceration.
  • Exploring alternatives to arrest to keep low-risk offenders out of jail through enhanced coalition-building and collaboration with community resources.
  • Providing access to resources and training in areas such as pretrial reform, risk assessment, citation in lieu of arrest, pre-arrest diversion, and strategies for enhancing community-police relations.

Police, Treatment and Community (PTAC) Collaborative

Law enforcement officers often encounter generally law-abiding citizens who may commit non-violent, low-level offenses or citizens suffering with substance use and/or mental health disorders whose behavioral health status puts them at risk for chronic involvement in the criminal justice system. When responding to these individuals, an arrest may be an officer's only course of action unless pre-arrest diversion options are available.

Pre-arrest diversion is a powerful tool that unites law enforcement officers, behavioral health service providers, and other community stakeholders in a shared goal: to redirect eligible individuals away from the criminal justice system and into community-based behavioral health treatment and recovery support services.

In an effort to strategically widen community behavioral health and social service options available through law enforcement diversion, the IACP along with its partners launched the PTAC Collaborative. This national alliance of practitioners in criminal justice, behavioral health, research, advocacy, and public policy are working to provide national vision, leadership, voice, and action to reframe the relationship between law enforcement, treatment, and community.

Pre-Arrest Diversion Webinar Series

Law enforcement agencies across the United States are planning or implementing pre-arrest diversion programs to address the needs of low-level non-violent offenders and the challenges of drug abuse and crime.  But just how does an agency or jurisdiction start such a program?  This webinar series is intended to help leaders take the first steps in establishing a program that will fit the needs of their community.

  • Starting Your Pre-Arrest Diversion (PAD) Effort: Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health, and Community Together
  • Law Enforcement’s Path to Improving Public Safety: Partnering with Local Behavioral Health Agencies


Additional Resources

This initiative is part of IACP’s ongoing portfolio of efforts to explore alternatives to arrest.  These resources include:

Check back for additional resources and opportunities in which to become involved as this initiative grows.