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  • Cohort 2023

    Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice

    Examining the Impacts of Criminal Legal System Involvement to Build Community-Based Safety Efforts

    Washtenaw County, MI

    In Washtenaw County, Michigan, a growing network of practitioners and community organizations is interested in using alternatives to arrest and incarceration not only to interrupt and reduce violence, but to address racial disparities in policing, sentencing, and imprisonment. Locally, these practitioners and organizations have documented racial disparities in sentencing, and local groups continue to advocate for transparency in policing data. Despite expert practitioners and community organizations’ dedication to alternatives, more than 70 percent of the county budget is spent on policing, courts, and incarceration.

    With Catalyst Grant funding, the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice and the American Friends Service Committee will collect and share the experiences of people directly impacted by the criminal legal system through in-depth interviews and story mapping to inform local restorative justice practices. They will explore perceptions of the criminal legal system and ideas about community-based solutions to violence. The narratives gathered through this project will add context for quantitative analysis and inform advocacy for greater investment in community-based crisis response and safety efforts to prevent law enforcement contact, arrests, and incarceration.

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