MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge featured as part of Distinguished Lecture Series

April 10, 2018 | Events, News, UToday, Honors, Law
By Cathy Zimmer

The University of Toledo will host Dr. Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform with the MacArthur Foundation, Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

She will discuss the role of philanthropy in social change through this unique and powerful program. 

A panel discussion and question-and-answer session will follow her remarks. Panelists will be Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and representatives of the Lucas County Safety and Justice Challenge Team, Commissioner Carol Contrada and Common Pleas Court Judge Gene Zmuda.

“We are thrilled to bring Dr. Garduque to campus. Her program represents one of the finest examples of social change achieved through evidence-based practices,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “We’re also very proud to showcase the highly successful local initiative as part of the event. The evening will be a memorable demonstration of how national and local partners can affect meaningful change.”

The Safety and Justice Challenge is providing support to local leaders from across the country who are determined to tackle one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in America — the misuse and overuse of jails.

The Safety and Justice Challenge elicited an overwhelming response. A total of 191 applications were submitted from jurisdictions spanning 45 states and territories. In 2015, 20 were selected to participate in the Challenge Network to develop comprehensive plans for creating fairer, more effective justice systems. In 2017, an additional 20 jurisdictions were selected to join in the Safety and Justice Network through the Challenge Innovation Fund.

Within the Challenge Network, 18 implementation sites are receiving funding and expert technical assistance to implement reforms to make local justice systems fairer and more effective. The 20 selected sites are receiving short-term support to design and test a single innovative reform program or project.

The Challenge Network sites represent 34 counties, four cities and two statewide systems. They are geographically distributed throughout the country and have a diverse jail capacity size, ranging from 140 beds in Campbell County, Tennessee, to as many as 21,811 beds in Los Angeles County. Collectively, the Challenge Network holds a jail capacity of approximately 130,000 and accounts for 16 percent of the total confined jail population.

Lucas County, Ohio, is in the process of comprehensive criminal justice reform, including pretrial risk assessment, enhancing community-based behavioral health and drug-dependency diversion resources, and expanding re-entry-based programming. To continue building upon these reform efforts, Lucas County was awarded $1.75 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2016 to invest in effective strategies to further reduce the average daily jail population over the next two years while addressing racial and ethnic disparity.

Working with law enforcement personnel, Lucas County will launch a series of pre-arrest educational and training programs addressing implicit bias, procedural justice and crisis de-escalation, while providing meaningful jail alternatives, including on-demand access to behavioral health resources.

To further address racial disparity and underserved populations, pretrial diversion programs will be expanded and enhanced. Lucas County also will establish a population review team comprised of a variety of stakeholders who will conduct weekly case-by-case assessments of the entire pretrial population to identify and recommend individuals who are suitable for release or expedited case resolution. In addition, judges and court personnel will manage pretrial risk through tiered supervision options and community-based resources such as GPS electronic monitoring, and will implement coordinated probation protocols throughout all county jurisdictions.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions and influential networks building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of its headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico and Nigeria.

Garduque joined the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 after serving as director of the National Forum on the Future of Children and Families, a joint project of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. From 1984 to 1987, she was the director of governmental and professional liaison for the American Educational Research Association in Washington, D.C. This position followed the year she spent, from 1983 to 1984, as a Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate. From 1980 to 1985, Garduque held a faculty position as an assistant professor of human development at Pennsylvania State University.

She previously served on the boards of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy; Grantmakers for Children Youth and Families; and the Youth Transition Funders Group Juvenile Justice Working Group, as well as on the federal Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, under Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She currently serves on the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Garduque received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her PhD in educational psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Guests are invited to stay for a reception following the lecture, which is co-sponsored by The University of Toledo College of Law.

The event marks the third of this year’s Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tickets are free to students and the public by visiting

For more information, contact the Jesup Scott Honors College at or 419.530.6030.

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