As major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta have begun to reduce their use of prisons and jails and shift resources into community-based infrastructure, small cities and rural counties across the country are deepening their reliance on mass incarceration. To drive and sustain reform beyond the biggest cities, In Our Backyards is proud to announce its third round of grant funding to community-based and statewide organizations committed to reducing incarceration rates, resisting jail expansion, and eliminating racial and gender disparities in incarceration in small and rural communities. Explore the map below to learn about the grantees and their work to end mass incarceration where it begins—in all our backyards.

Community Grants

The Vera Institute of Justice’s In Our Backyards initiative is driven by the realization that national gains made toward reversing mass incarceration are being totally eroded by deepening problems in small cities and rural communities across the country. Explore the map, and meet the advocates, researchers, and organizers leading vital work in small cities and rural America.

Fact Sheets

A fundamental barrier to change is the lack of information about how local justice systems contribute to mass incarceration. The In Our Backyards County Fact Sheet Project makes data and knowledge about the carceral landscape in each American community widely available, including jail and prison usage, racial and gender disparities, and locally-specific drivers and consequences of incarceration. Download the fact sheets to learn more about incarceration trends in each of the counties our grantees work, and join or start public conversations about the numbers and their impact.









New York

North Carolina