Gretchen Schuldt
Court Watch

County Wins $2.3 Million Grant for Jail Reform

MacArthur grant funds effort to address overcrowding at county jail, House of Corrections.

By , Wisconsin Justice Initiative - Jan 29th, 2019 12:43 pm
House of Correction sign.

House of Correction sign.

Milwaukee County has been awarded a $2.3 million Safety and Justice Challenge Grant from the MacArthur Foundation to continue efforts to reduce inmate populations at the County Jail and House of Correction.

The two-year grant will run through December 31, 2020. The county received an earlier $2 million grant in 2016.

Milwaukee County Chief Judge Maxine White said in a memo the new grant will focus on technical assistance, refined case processing, mental health diversion, reentry coordination, enhanced data capacity, and community engagement.

The MacArthur steering committee complimented stakeholders on efforts made thus far to reduce the combined jail / House of Correction population of roughly 2,000 to 2,100 county inmates.

“The committee believes, however, that Milwaukee’s efforts to reduce the pretrial population could be strengthened significantly by incorporating concrete strategies to directly address the deficiencies in case processing,” Senior MacArthur Program Manager Patrick Griffin wrote in a an award letter.

Milwaukee should seek technical assistance to draw up management plans and new strategies to reform the process, he said.

“Additionally, the steering committee believes Milwaukee can develop a stronger strategy to address violations in revocations of community supervision,” he wrote.

Racial disparities also must be addressed, he said. The county and other grant participant should analyze the system to understand how strategies and projected population reductions will affect people of color.

Gretchen Schuldt writes a blog for Wisconsin Justice Initiative, whose mission is “To improve the quality of justice in Wisconsin by educating the public about legal issues and encouraging civic engagement in and debate about the judicial system and its operation.

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