Urban Rural Action Wins Grant from Vera Institute of Justice to Reduce Incarceration in Adams County and Philadelphia

The Vera Institute of Justice announced Tuesday that Urban Rural Action and the Pennsylvania Prison Society won an “In Our Backyards Community Grant” to build consensus between urban and rural communities on criminal justice reform in Adams County, PA and Philadelphia. Through the “Consensus-Building for Incarceration Reform” (CBIR) program, UR Action will advance collaborative efforts to reduce incarceration and improve jail conditions in Adams County and Philadelphia.

This grant was made available through Vera’s In Our Backyards initiative, which has been at the forefront of research and analysis around the rise of incarceration in small cities and rural communities such as Adams County. This changing geography means that while campaigns in cities like New York, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Philadelphia have secured powerful commitments from elected leaders to close jails, hundreds of smaller communities across the country are grappling with a rising but quiet jail boom.

CBIR aims to strengthen the influence, advocacy, and consensus-building capacities of a network of criminal justice reform advocates, community leaders, and jail officials in Adams County and Philadelphia; increase the network’s familiarity with data on incarceration rates and jail conditions; develop advocacy strategies to reduce incarceration and improve jail conditions; and build relationships among participants through homestays and shared meals.

“Mass incarceration negatively impacts families and communities in urban and rural areas across the United States,” said Joseph Bubman, founder and Executive Director of UR Action. “Strengthened urban/rural collaboration on criminal justice reform will not only address systemic inequities, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayers money, but can also foster relationships and trust across the urban/rural divide in the process.”

UR Action will implement CBIR in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Prison Society, founded in 1787 by signers of the Declaration of Independence to ensure humane conditions in Pennsylvania prisons and promotes criminal justice laws to “return our fellow creatures to virtue and happiness.”

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