CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County is putting together a plan to reduce the use of its jails across the county.
The County was chosen as one of 20 jurisdictions to receive a $150,000 grant to create a fairer, more effective local justice system.
It was awarded by the MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation's largest independent foundations.
It provides grants and loans here in the US and around the world for projects its determines will reform the criminal justice system.
Of the 200 departments that applied, Charleston County was one of 20 selected as part of the $75 million Safety and Justice Challenge to, "reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails."
In a press release Wednesday, the County stated one of its goals is to ensure, at the initial point of incarceration, "every effort is made to properly evaluate the individual and determine what pre-trial situation best meets the core need(s) of the individual while still protecting our community."
"Nearly 200 diverse jurisdictions responded to our challenge, reflecting nationwide interest in reducing over-incarceration," said Julia Stasch, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "Each of the sites selected has demonstrated the motivation, collaboration, and commitment needed to make real change in their local justice systems. The aim is that local efforts will model effective and safe alternatives to the incarceration status quo for the rest of the country."
Among the 20 selected include: Ada County, ID; Charleston County, SC; Cook County, IL; Harris County, TX; Los Angeles County, CA; Lucas County, OH; Mecklenburg County, NC; Mesa County, CO; Milwaukee County, WI; Multnomah County, OR; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Palm Beach County, FL; Pennington County, SD; Philadelphia, PA; Pima County, AZ; St. Louis County, MO; Shelby County, TN; Spokane County, WA; State of Connecticut.
According to a press release from the MacArthur Foundation, these 20 make up 11% of the nation's jails capacity.
According to a release, in Charleston County, over the past twelve months, the detention center has processed approximately 27,373 admissions. It states a majority of those individuals who are admitted in the 1,917 bed facility stay for 30 days or less.
Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office are in Washington D.C. this week finalizing paperwork to received the grant.
The County has until next year to develop their plan. If the MacArthur Foundation board likes it, the County could get more grant money to put the plan in place.