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Philadelphia Aims To Reduce Prison Population In Next Three Years

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --  Philadelphia wants to reduce its prison population by 34 percent over a three-year period.

The Kenney administration announced the ambitious goal, today, when it applied for a $4 million McArthur Foundation grant to fund the plan.

The announcement had few details about how the city would achieve such a large reduction in such a short time, but said the strategies were developed by all the players in the criminal justice system, including courts, cops and prisons over several months, with the help of a $150,000 McArthur grant.

Mayor Jim Kenney says it proposes alternatives that would be more effective than jail.

"There are way too many folks that are incarcerated today that could be in another type of situation, getting services like drug treatment and psychological services they need," Kenney said.

Even District Attorney Seth Williams says not all defendants belong in jail and alternatives could actually improve public safety.

The administration says it would like to act on the plan even without the grant but would likely have to lengthen the timeline.

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