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Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Awarded $640,000 Grant



Press Release

Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is the recipient of a capstone $640,000 grant by the John D. and  Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as Charleston County recognizes 7 years of progress toward  safely reducing the local jail population and addressing inequities in the justice system in  collaboration with local leaders and community members. The grant marks a total of $6.177  million invested in Charleston County as part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $323 million  national initiative to reduce over-incarceration and eliminate racial inequity in local criminal  justice systems.  

Since being selected to join the Safety and Justice Challenge Network in 2015, Charleston  County has remained committed to addressing the factors that contribute to over-incarceration in  America. Through the implementation of evidence-based strategies and policies at a local level,  Charleston County successfully and safely reduced the jail population by 40.5% as of the end of  2021 compared to 2014. These strategies include: 

building a robust data warehouse combining data from across the criminal justice system prioritizing alternatives to jail for lower level charges most frequently booked and that  disparately impacted communities of color 

supporting law enforcement’s increasing use of community-based services like the Tri County Crisis Stabilization Center so people can get the help they need without falling  deeper into the criminal justice system 

supporting efforts to make consistent improvements in the earliest stages of case  processing including assigning attorneys faster and more efficiently transfer of evidence instituting Public Defender attorneys in Bond Court to ensure indigent defendants are  afforded the right to counsel 

automated court text reminders for General Sessions Court 

Implementing the use of Pretrial Analysts to provide the Court with Pretrial Service  Reports (PSR), which produce an objective and reliable way to assess for risk of rearrests  and/or failure to appear.

Looking to the future, Charleston County will maintain key practices at the county level to carry  forward the successes achieved during the Safety and Justice Challenge. Through data-guided  and collaborative problem-solving, the strategies being implemented are achieving results, and  Charleston County has taken important strides in tackling some of the most long-standing and  complex challenges in our local criminal justice system. 

“The Safety and Justice Challenge has allowed us to bring the voices of community members to  our criminal justice system leaders in order to rethink criminal justice in Charleston County.  Through this partnership, we’ve developed a long-term framework to continually uplift the  experiences of people most impacted by our justice system. Moving forward, we will sustain our  efforts to reduce jail populations and produce more equitable outcomes, all while ensuring that  our work is reflective of the community’s needs.” stated Captain Jason Bruder, Charleston Police  Department. 

This round of funding will solidify the Charleston County CJCC’s ability to sustain long-term  public safety initiatives and will also promote continuity at the county level of the strategies  Charleston County developed throughout its participation in the Safety and Justice Challenge. 

More than seven years since its public launch, the Safety and Justice Challenge has grown into a  collaborative network of 74 sites in 33 states modeling and inspiring reforms to create more fair,  just, and equitable local justice systems across the country.  

“I am proud to celebrate and reflect on the progress made by the Safety and Justice Challenge  cities and counties over the past seven years. This initiative shows that communities can bridge  their differences in pursuit of a more equitable and just response to people in conflict with the  law,” said Laurie Garduque, MacArthur Foundation’s Director of Criminal Justice. “With  innovative and evidence-based solutions now in place, these communities have the framework to  sustain their progress and the tools to respond to the challenges that lay ahead.”  

More information about the work underway in Charleston County can be found on as well as on

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