San Francisco Sentencing Commission Joins the Safety and Justice Challenge to Create a Fairer, More Effective Local Justice System and Model Reforms for the Nation

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón


February 1, 2017

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:          ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931

       MAXWELL SZABO (415) 553-9089


San Francisco is one of 20 Counties and Cities to Receive Grants to Design, Test Innovative Criminal Justice Reforms

San Francisco – Today, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that San Francisco is one of 20 additional jurisdictions joining the Safety and Justice Challenge, a national $100 million initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. San Francisco and the other jurisdictions will design and test innovative local justice reforms designed to safely drive down jail usage and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in their local justice systems.  San Francisco was chosen following a highly competitive selection process that drew applications from across the country. 

“The role of the prosecutor is not just to secure a conviction, it’s to ensure justice,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “By embracing technology and data science we can reduce inequities and racial disparities in our system, thereby enhancing the pursuit of justice.”

“Local jurisdictions are leading the way on justice reform,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Demand for reform at the local level is considerable and growing, as evidenced by the number, diversity, and creativity of the applications we received. This momentum is encouraging, particularly as the federal justice reform landscape evolves and shifts.”

Through the Challenge’s Innovation Fund, San Francisco will receive support and expert technical assistance in designing and implementing local reforms. San Francisco’s innovations will focus on the development and implementation of a web-based justice system recidivism analysis dashboard, integrating data from multiple justice agencies, with the goal of enhancing data-driven sentencing and supervision policies, and further enable San Francisco to assess progress in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.

San Francisco and the other Innovation Fund jurisdictions will receive short-term support of $50,000 each, are eligible for future funding opportunities, and have access to the resources, peer learning opportunities, and expertise of the Safety and Justice Challenge Network. The Urban Institute, which is managing the Innovation Fund in partnership with the Foundation, will provide expert technical assistance to the jurisdictions as they implement their plans. Key learnings and resources emerging from the Innovation Fund will be shared with and beyond the justice reform field.

This innovative project will establish a data system to manage, analyze, and share data with key decision makers and the public which will improve San Francisco’s ability to make data-driven sentencing and supervision policies that will guide the use of county jail resources and ultimately reduce crime and victimization. By uniting the talents of local technology companies, criminal justice practitioners, academic researchers and the public at large, CCSF will create a first of its kind comprehensive data sharing resource.

San Francisco will continue to place an emphasis on community engagement and collaboration among local law enforcement, corrections officials, prosecutors, defenders, judges, and other stakeholders in this work to test, innovate, and drive reform.

The Innovation Fund jurisdictions expand the Challenge’s reach into new states and deepen its work across the country. They include: 
•               Adams County, CO 
•               Allegheny County, PA
•               City of Atlanta, GA 
•               Broward County, FL 
•               Buncombe County, NC 
•               Campbell County, TN 
•               Clark County, NV 
•               Dane County, WI 
•               State of Delaware 
•               Deschutes County, OR
•               Durham County, NC
•               East Baton Rouge Parish, LA
•               Lake County, IL 
•               Minnehaha County, SD 
•               Missoula County, MT 
•               Polk County, IA 
•               City and County of San Francisco, CA
•               Santa Clara County, CA 
•               Summit County, OH 
•               Yakima County, WA

Information about the selected jurisdictions, as well as news, research, and events related to the Safety and Justice Challenge, will be published on


About the MacArthur Foundation:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. More information about the Foundation’s criminal justice reform work can be found at

About the Urban Institute:

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.