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Mount Holly Criminal Lawyer Discusses the MacArthur Foundation on Jail Populations

A recent study by the Vera Institute of Justice, in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, reports that there are over 3,000 jails in the United States. The total amount of prisoners in these jails was estimated at approximately 731,000. Moreover, 62% of the 12 million individuals incarcerated every year are awaiting trial. The total cost for those trials amounts to over $20 billion, which is more than one-third of the money that is spent on prisons.

These numbers are staggering and many agencies and organizations are working toward lowering the jail populations.  Unfortunately, they lack the funding to implement effective strategies to improve the system.

One of the biggest causes for the monumental costs in the prison system is mental illness. A mental health series conducted by the Wall Street Journal in 2013 determined that approximately 80 million people, which is a third of all adults, were arrested and would suffer lifelong mental health consequences.  This figure includes those who were never convicted of the crime that landed them in jail in the first place.

Historically, the main purpose of jails was to detain prisoners who were a danger to society or those who were considered flight risks. The director of the Justice Reform program at the MacArthur Foundation feels that the majority of people in today’s jail system do not fit into either category and that the prison system is in desperate need of attention and resources.

The MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States and has been active in the justice field for more than 20 years. The Foundation supports exploration strategies that work to reform the criminal justice system. One goal of the foundation is to bring attention and reform to the jails that have been all but ignored within the prison system.

Data shows that over the last 20 years, the average stay in a jail has grown from 14 days to over three weeks.  While the federal prison population has decreased, the local jails are more crowded than ever. The MacArthur Foundation claims that the atmosphere of a jail can have toxic effects on a person’s life. The foundation is searching out ways to have local law enforcement issue summonses to people instead of making arrests.

To help with their efforts, the foundation is launching a competition called the Safety and Justice Challenge. They are investing $75 million for the winners with the best plans to implement change that will improve our nation’s jails. This challenge will fund 20 jurisdictions and award them with grants totaling $150,000 each to develop their ideas and plans.  In addition to the grant money, those selected will also receive consulting assistance for a selected time period. Ten of the 20 winners will qualify for additional funding totaling up to as much as two million dollars a year.

Mount Holly Criminal Lawyer Michele Finizio Aggressively Defends Clients Against Criminal Charges and Municipal Charges in New Jersey

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, call Mount Holly criminal lawyerMichele Finizio, Esq.  Our criminal lawyers provide aggressive defense and sound legal strategy to defend criminal charges in municipal court, traffic court and criminal court.  Fill out our online contact form or call 609-230-0374 to schedule a consultation today.  Our office is located in Moorestown, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout southern New Jersey, including those in Mount Holly, Cherry Hill, the city of Camden as well as those in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County and Salem County.

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I could not have asked for a better attorney. Michele Finizio treated my cases and the cases of those I've recommended, as if we were part of her family.

-D.A.