Boise & Garden City

Ada County Sheriff’s Office wins a $150,000 MacArthur Foundation grant

The Ada County Sheriff's Office won a $150,000 MacArthur Foundation grant to work on keeping people out of jail and push recidivism rates down, according to a sheriff's office press release.

Almost 200 jurisdictions applied for the foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, a project that's funding agencies who are seeking to reduce over-incarceration. Ada County was one of 20 jurisdictions to win a grant.

The grant money will primarily be used to facilitate research so the agency can take a smart approach to policing, said Capt. Steve Bartlett.

According to Bartlett about 12 percent of the Ada County Jail's population is made up of homeless people, who sometimes commit minor crimes to get off the street. This money can help the agency identify which programs can help those people stay off the streets and get the resources they need without using the jail and taxpayer's money, he said.

"The money is going to go toward some of our overtime that will be spent on doing the research (and) paying for some of our surveys out in the community (determining) how we can actually provide law enforcement services at a higher level," he said.

Over the next six months the sheriff's office will be collecting data to bring back to the MacArthur Foundation for the second stage of the grant process. Another 10 agencies will receive grants worth $500,000 to $2 million to use to implement effective programs, Bartlett said.