Buncombe County Seeks Members for Community Engagement Workgroup

In February 2021, Buncombe County received an additional $1.75 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to continue building on efforts in collaboration with local leaders and the community to rethink the local criminal justice system, safely reduce Buncombe County’s jail population, and eliminate racial inequities.

Community engagement is an essential component of justice system reform, and toward this goal, the Buncombe County Safety Justice Challenge (SJC) Community Engagement Workgroup has connected with the community through surveys, listening sessions throughout the county, a virtual town hall, and community information events on developing justice system policies.

In 2021, the Community Engagement Workgroup will be focused on building deeper, more collaborative relationships with stakeholders, and working to fulfill the goals of the Buncombe County Safety and Justice Challenge in partnership with our shared communities.

Community Members Needed

Community Engagement is about involving people who are directly and indirectly affected by government policies and practices. The SJC Community Engagement Workgroup is seeking 10 community members to serve on the workgroup. For this workgroup, a community member is someone who is impacted by the justice system and is not affiliated with, or being paid by an organization to participate in the workgroup. Community members will receive a stipend funded by the MacArthur Foundation grant.

·         Youth ages 18-24 are encouraged to apply

·         Those who identify as Latinx are encouraged to apply

Workgroup activities will include:

·         Continuing to plan, facilitate, and host activities such as town halls, focus groups, listening session, criminal justice info sessions, and community meetings

·         Reviewing content and material related to public education campaigns, information sessions, and community meetings

·         Developing communication strategies between community and criminal justice system organizations

The current grant brings the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s total investment in Buncombe County to $3.55 million to date, and is part of the Safety and Justice Challenge, a $246 million national initiative to reduce over-incarceration and advance racial equity in local criminal justice systems by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails.

Please see the attachment for a complete timeline and application information. The application deadline is March 29, 2021. Visit buncombecounty.org/justiceservices to learn more about the Safety and Justice Challenge in Buncombe County.