BOSTON – Community Resources for Justice has been awarded a $100,000 grant through the Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program to fund a pilot initiative aimed at safely reducing the number of individuals held in Massachusetts jails while awaiting trial.
CRJ is a Boston-based nonprofit that assists men and women transitioning into the community after incarceration; supports adults with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible; and works with local, state, and national criminal justice organizations to improve public safety and the delivery of justice. The 140-year-old organization was one of 100 local nonprofits chosen from a total of 597 applicants through a competitive process.
Representing CRJ, President and CEO John J. Larivee and Director of Innovation, Implementation, and Development Gabriella Priest joined approximately 300 other guests today at a reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $220 million to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.
“We’re thrilled to receive this generous support from the Cummings Foundation to address a pressing need in Massachusetts’ criminal justice system,” Larivee said. “This funding will allow CRJ to help reshape pretrial detention in a way that benefits taxpayers, local corrections, and public safety.”
CRJ will use the funding to develop and pilot a research-based pretrial justice program for Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties to safely reduce the number of people in pretrial detention, which has been growing in Massachusetts jails, stretching resources and increasing costs. Defendants held in jail while awaiting trial are more likely to face worse outcomes, including harsher sentences, as well as the loss of employment and household income.
The pilot program will include meeting with stakeholders in the three counties; selecting a data-driven tool to assess the likelihood that defendants will fail to appear at future court hearings or be charged with new offenses if released; and developing a continuum of evidence-based, less costly and equally effective options to supervise lower-risk individuals outside of jail facilities while they are awaiting trial.
The Crime and Justice Institute, a division of CRJ, has consulted with counties and states around the country, including California, Delaware, and Tennessee, to improve their pretrial systems.
The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.
“We are indebted to the nonprofit organizations like Community Resources for Justice that have a meaningful positive impact on the local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to invest in their important programs and services.”
This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention and affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.
The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.
Cummings Foundation announced an additional $10 million in early May through its new Sustaining Grants, which extend “$100K for 100” funding for previous winners for 10 more years. Beginning in 2019, the Foundation will increase its total giving through these two programs from $20 million to $25 million.