Safety and Justice Challenge

Shelby County is one of twenty national sites selected to participate in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge. The Safety and Justice Challenge is part of the MacArthur Foundation's criminal justice reform initiative to reduce over-incarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Shelby County's first award, received in 2015, resulted in a plan that described how Shelby County would target jail overuse through implementation of five strategies. As a result, in 2016 Shelby County received a partial implementation award of $150,000 to begin putting two of the five strategies into effect. A final application was submitted in 2017 and Shelby County received $350,000 so that implementation of all five strategies could begin.

The strategies were developed collaboratively with local criminal justice agencies; partners in the Safety and Justice Challenge include: Shelby County Health Department, Shelby County Pretrial Services, Office of the District Attorney General, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Shelby County Public Defender, Judges and Clerks of General Sessions Criminal Court, Judges and Clerks of Criminal Court, Memphis Police Department, and Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.


  1. Reduce case processing time for in-custody felony defendants
  2. Implement a new research-based risk assessment tool to predict pretrial success
  3. Develop objective indigence screening to provide earlier assignment of counsel
  4. Consolidation of Misdemeanor Citation appearance dates
  5. Expand early release opportunities for defendants with behavioral health issues

Contact Information:

Katy Mack
Grants Manager
Phone: 901-222-5704

Chris Floyd
Criminal Justice Coordinator
Phone: 901-222-4069

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety + Justice Challenge