Grand Rapids is collaborating with the Aspen Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative to form the Grand Rapids Justice and Governance Partnership (GR-JGP), joining a national effort to promote systemic approaches to public safety and justice.

Safer communities better understand the underlying factors that impact quality of life, while also including community voices that are typically left out of policymaking and investment decisions.

Neighborhoods with high crime rates and law enforcement engagement often also face chronic insecurity in housing, health, education, transportation, and employment. Through the GR-JGP, Grand Rapids will bring government partners and community members together to create shared visions for public safety and justice outcomes that are equity-centered, data-driven, and holistic.

The Justice and Governance Partnership Program consists of four key components:

Justice Collaborative

Diverse range of stakeholders, reflecting interests across the wider justice ecosystem

Justice Audit

Consolidated data analysis of the local justice ecosystem that is repeatable and community-informed

Justice Reinvestment Plans

Collaborative policy-making plan for implementing findings of Justice Audits

Justice Intermediary

Convenes the Justice Collaborative and produces Justice Audits and Reinvestment Plans

Planning Phase

During the initial planning phase from March 2022-February 2023, the GR-JGP is collaborating with community stakeholders to develop an implementation plan for the four core JGP components. GR-JGP is designing a Justice Audit that collects and visualizes data from law enforcement and courts as well as from a wide range of cross-system sources such as housing, healthcare, education, workforce development, and others. Workgroups of local representatives will determine which data to include to build a comprehensive picture of how experiences with public safety and the justice system. At the end of the planning phase, Grand Rapids will have access to multi-year funding and technical support to implement initial and recurring Justice Audits and to develop Reinvestment Plans that identify where interventions are most needed to inform policies and coordinate resources.

Key GR-JGP Planning Phase Activities:

March – May 2022

Convene a Planning Workgroup to build a shared understanding of the JGP components and develop goals and the activities needed to achieve those outcomes

June – August 2022

Engage a broader stakeholder group to define Justice Audit elements

September 2022 – January 2023

Develop governance structure of future Justice Collaborative and secure data sharing agreements from agencies and organizations for future Justice Audit

Select a Justice Intermediary to lead future JGP activities with the Justice Collaborative

February 2023

Submit proposal for funding to support implementation of Justice Audit and ongoing JGP activities

Who's Involved

Public Agency at WMCAT, a social enterprise of the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, is the host organization for the planning phase and will organize GR-JGP activities with community stakeholders. With technical assistance from the Aspen Institute and their local partners, a cohort of cross-sector leaders was formed to plan and initiate the work.

A larger collaborative of community representatives has been invited throughout the planning phase to help inform audit components and participate in other key activities.

Agencies and organizations engaged thus far include:

61st District Court


Bank of America

Baxter Neighborhood Association

Catherine’s Health Center

Cherry Health

City of Grand Rapids

Coalition to End Homelessness

Dwelling Place

Essential Needs Task Force

Family Promise

Grand Rapids Bar Association

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Grand Rapids Police Department

Grand Rapids Public Schools

Grand Rapids Urban League

Greater Grand Rapids NAACP

Johnson Center at GVSU

Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation

Kent Co. Board of Commissioners

Kent Co. Health Department

Kent Co. Michigan DHHS

Kent Co. Office of Community Corrections

Kent Co. Prosecutor’s Office

Kent Co. Sheriff’s Office

Kent School Services Network (KSSN)


Michigan House of Representatives

Network 180

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Spectrum Health

Urban Core Collective


Women’s Resource Center

YWCA West Central Michigan

Aspen Institute is funding the engagement of the GR-JGP with initial support from The Michigan Justice Fund at The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Bank of America, Arnold Ventures, Ford Foundation, Ballmer Group, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Slack, Inc.

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