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Creation of a Community Court for the City of Meridian, Mississippi

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
City of Meridian
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $444,903)

The City of Meridian, Mississippi, seeks to become one of the first Bureau of Justice Assistance recognized Community Court in the State of Mississippi to serve the struggling needs of our community. We are requesting consideration of Category 1 (Planning and Implementation) funding. Meridian served a population of 33,816 citizens compared to 41,000 in 2005, the poverty rate for Meridian is 35%, and the average number of residents without a high school degree is over 22%. Many in the Municipal courtroom need the basic ability to provide for themselves to avoid significant fines. This grant aims to implement a planning phase to create a recognized community court to address offenders' needs for assistance with homelessness, lack of high school equivalency degrees, job skill training, mental health struggles, and substance usage leading them to come before the court. The Community Court will depend significantly on community partners already providing many of the services the offenders need in low- cost or free programs. We will reward the offender's success by non-adjudicating non-violent crimes, and the court can waive mandatory sentencing. We estimate that this court will see approximately 25 new participants per quarter, and each participant's expected program participation is about six months. The total cost for this program is $593,204 for four years of funding. This funding will support an independent ongoing evaluation of the program's success and employ a Community Court Liaison to ensure all participants are connected to the community services they need and meet the expectations of the Community Court.

Date Created: September 27, 2023