• November 2018

County awarded grant to implement justice system and community partnerships

Minnehaha County will receive additional funding in 2018 to continue its effort to create a collaborative network of partners working to keep people out of jail and connect them to necessary professional services.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded Minnehaha County a $700,000 grant to be used over the next two years. The grant is part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $148 million national initiative to safely reduce incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Minnehaha County joined the Safety and Justice Challenge Network in 2017 as an Innovation Site with funding for a targeted project focused on the community triage center. The project was a 15-month collaboration period for local leaders to conduct research, gather data, determine what a community triage center could look like, and identify next steps to bring the project to fruition. This project offered the Sioux Falls area national attention, including being asked to apply for this new funding.

"Our community was recognized for its leadership capacity to build high level consensus and ability deliver meaningful results," said Commissioner Cindy Heiberger. The new funding will provide Minnehaha County and partners with additional support and expert technical assistance to implement a comprehensive plan of five strategies. The plans seek to address justice system practices that affect the target populations of people with mental health and substance abuse issues, people of color, and those with long lengths of stay in jail.

Over the next two years, stakeholders will strive to implement community-based options at justice system decision points with the goal of reducing the local jail population, while not compromising public safety.

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