Philadelphia submits plan to reduce overcrowded jails

Philadelphia is competing with a handful of cities across the country for millions of dollars in funding that could help the city shrink its overcrowded jails by more than a third over three years.

The city has submitted its proposal to the MacArthur Foundation, which has a $75 million, five-year initiative aimed at lowering the country’s incarcerated population. In May, Philadelphia won $150,000 from the foundation to come up with its plan.

More than 7,800 men and women sit in Philadelphia’s overcrowded jails, which are meant to hold 6,500. Many are there because they cannot afford bail or are ineligible for diversion programs that would allow them to remain free while awaiting trial.

If the proposal is successful, Philadelphia could be awarded at least $4 million to execute its plans.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.