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Urban Institute, Microsoft Offer Grants on Racial Issues, Data

Stock image, Police arresting a Black man
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The U.S. justice system disproportionately harms communities of color, especially Black communities. Racism and racial biases are deeply embedded in the justice system, leading to disparities based on race that are well documented, says the Urban Institute. People of color, particularly Blacks, disproportionately experience vehicle and pedestrian stops and are most likely to be searched by police. Blacks are arrested and detained at higher rates than whites and incarcerated for longer periods.

Contact with the justice system carries significant costs to individuals, families, and communities. A few days in jail can result in lost employment and housing, burdensome fines and fees, and destabilized family relationships. Local organizations are at the forefront of making systemic change in the justice system.

By improving access to data and technology, communities can have additional tools to improve policy and practices to make the justice system more equitable.

They can share their experiences and programs using technology in a variety of ways, including to analyze, visualize, and share data in support of organizing, advocacy, and services. The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are collaborating on a CatalystGrant Program to help organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity and fairness in the criminal justice system.

The groups are seeking project proposals across the three areas of focus for the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative -- prevention, policing and prosecution.

They are building on a pilot launched this year that supported nine grantees.

A major goal is to enhance efforts by local nonprofit organizations to implement data and technology focused projects to advance criminal justice reform and decrease racial and ethnic disparities in prevention, policing, and prosecution;

Those selected to participate in the Catalyst Grant Program will benefit from: a funding award of $40,000 for a six-month performance period and technical assistance.

The deadline for applying is this coming Friday evening, February 25. For more information, visit this site.