Lake County Sheriff's Office receives $700,000 grant
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has received a $700,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation aimed at reducing local jail population and reforming the local criminal justice system.
The grant is part of the $148 million Safety and Justice Challenge, a national initiative with goals of reducing over-incarceration, by changing the way jails are perceived and used across the country.
First selected to be part of the program in 2017, Lake County officials now focus on providing intensive case management to what’s known as “high utilizers” of the Lake County Jail system.
The services work by providing high utilizers with directed services designed to steer them clear of re-arrest once they are released.
“There is growing demand for criminal justice reform across the country, and local jurisdictions are leading the way,” Laurie Garduque, MacArthur’s director of Justice Reform, said in a Lake County press release. “MacArthur is increasing our investment because we are seeing promising results and an appetite for more reform as evidenced by the diversity and creativity of the solutions implemented and tested across the network.
"While progress is not always easy, and there is no single solution or quick fix, these jurisdictions are proving it is possible to rethink local justice systems from the ground up with forward-looking, smart solutions.”
Lake County is one of 13 jurisdictions selected for additional funding based on its commitment to such reform efforts and programs.
“Our grant proposal to the Safety and Justice Challenge resulted in funding for a successful High-Utilizer Pilot Program within the Lake County Jail,” Sheriff Mark Curran added. “The additional grant money will allow us to expand the scope of the program to include additional strategies to be implemented over the next two years.”
Curran branded the additional funding as an “important first step” in ensuring that jails are used as he thinks they should be and not as a place to habitually drop off the mentally ill or those suffering from any disorder related to substance abuse.
“These folks live among us and in many cases are born into a cycle of poverty, or suffer from mental health disorders, substance use disorders, or both,” he said. “Linking them to services is the most humane course of action and will lead to a sharp reduction in the jail population as well.”