Louisville Brings In Stats “Geeks” To Study Overcrowded Jails


With Louisville’s jails consistently and dangerously overcrowded, Major Greg Fischer is looking to “geeks” for help, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal. Louisville is one of 10 cities chosen to participate in Code for America, a national, nonprofit fellowship that provides cities with tech-savvy professionals to help create online applications that use data and technology to bring greater openness, efficiency, and participation to local government.

The team in Louisville — which dubs itself “The Bourbon Planners” — will study the justice system in search of ways to reduce jail overcrowding, in part by finding ways other than incarceration to deal with inmates before their trial. The team will study all aspects of the Jefferson County justice system in the next month — sit in courts, ride with police, tour the jail — and use the data “to help us see, identify, understand and evaluate our problem and the potential solutions that come with it,” Fischer said. One person involved referred to the goal as trying to “Moneyball” Jefferson County's criminal justice system, a reference to the book and movie about Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who helped change the system in which baseball players were evaluated through analytics and statistical probabilities.

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