Funding Opportunity for Reducing Incarceration in Small Cities and Rural Areas
Date:  03-13-2019

Funds can be used to sustain work, launch new initiatives, expand work, or foster partnerships
From Vera Institute of Justice:

A little-known fact threatens our nation’s collective efforts to end mass incarceration: as major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New Orleans reduce their incarceration rates, many smaller communities across the country are moving in the opposite direction. In fact, thousands of smaller cities and rural counties are now grappling with the nation’s highest rates of jail incarceration and prison admissions—and, increasingly, some of the most outsize jails. The Vera Institute’s In Our Backyards initiative is driven by the realization that if we do not respond to the shifting geography of incarceration, national gains made toward unwinding mass incarceration could be totally eroded by deepening problems in overlooked communities across the country. In the short-term, we are committed to stopping the rise of small and rural incarceration, then reversing decades of growth in communities of all sizes.

This work is made particularly urgent by the quiet jail boom that is rapidly expanding carceral capacity across the country—at the same time that efforts to close facilities like New York City’s Rikers Island Jail, Philadelphia’s House of Corrections, and the St. Louis “Workhouse” gain ground, many smaller communities are building or adding capacity to jails. Because new jail beds are usually filled quickly, reversing mass incarceration depends on holding firm against unnecessary jail expansion.

This work was born out of Vera’s Incarceration Trends Project, which pieced together 45 years’ worth of county-level incarceration data. This has been further supplemented by Vera’s qualitative research in small and rural communities across the country, which explores the human and social impact of jails and prisons and the structural and social forces driving high incarceration rates. Continue reading >>>