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  • Cohort 2023

    Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association

    A Mobile App to Increase Defendant Engagement in the Criminal Legal System

    Cuyahoga County, OH

    The criminal legal system is complex and challenging for defendants, who are often expected to make crucial decisions without adequate information. The average defendant must complete 200 tasks during their legal proceedings, with any misstep having severe consequences. Providers of legal aid for low-income defendants often do not have the time to advise their clients properly. Because of this, disadvantaged defendants often do not have the information needed to navigate the legal system, leading to stark racial disparities in who is incarcerated. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Black defendants are held in jail at 6.4 times the rate of white defendants. unBail, a fiscally sponsored project of the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association in Cuyahoga County, has been working to create a more equitable legal system to combat these issues.

    With Catalyst Grant funding, the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association, through the work of unBail, and in partnership with Theory and Principle and the Cuyahoga County Office of Innovation and Performance, will develop a free mobile app to provide defendants with active felony cases in Cuyahoga County with timely, relevant, and accurate information about their cases and breakdowns of complex legal processes throughout all stages of the pretrial process. The app will be targeted primarily toward low-income Black males to address disparities in jail incarceration. unBail hopes that by increasing defendant engagement and making the legal system more transparent, court appearance rates will increase, and case outcomes will become more equitable. After the app is implemented, unBail intends to use user feedback to pinpoint how to better prepare defendants and inform them about their cases.


    2023 Grantees

    Beyond the Bars
    Miami Gardens, FL

    Black Voters Matter
    Fulton County, GA

    Center for Policing Equity
    St. Louis, MO

    Chicago Appleseed
    Cook County, IL

    Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
    Los Angeles, CA

    DC Fiscal Policy Institute
    Washington, DC

    Forward Through Ferguson
    St. Louis City and County, MO

    Freedom Community Center
    St. Louis, MO

    Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association
    Cuyahoga County, OH

    Homeward Bound
    Dallas County, TX

    Sacramento, CA

    Innovate Memphis
    Memphis, TN

    Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice
    Washtenaw County, MI

    Just Communities Arizona
    Pima County, AZ

    Justice Management Institute
    New Orleans, LA

    Mediation and Restorative Services
    Anoka County, MN

    People of Progression
    Outagamie County, WI

    Phoenix Youth and Family Services
    Ashley County, Bradley County, Chicot County, Desha County, and Drew County, AR

    Project Curate
    Harris County, TX

    Pillars of the Community
    San Diego, CA

    Safer Foundation
    Cook County, IL

    San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project
    San Francisco, CA

    Starting Over, Inc.
    Riverside County, CA

    Denver, CO

    United Way of South Central Michigan
    Jackson County, MI