Criminal justice reformers are working to create a system that reduces incarceration while maintaining safety by restoring police-community relations, reimagining what incarceration should be, reducing time spent in jail pre-trial and diverting the mentally ill into treatment, reports Governing. Data will increasingly play a crucial role in making these efforts successful. President Obama’s White House championed a Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) initiative focused on helping state and local jurisdictions identify and make better use of their own and others’ data. Still, in a Governance Lab survey of criminal-justice coordinating councils, 53 percent reported that they did some data analysis at the individual agency level, but a full 22 percent reported that they did no data analysis at all.
To help rectify this situation, the Justice Management Institute and the GovLab, in collaboration with the National Association of Counties, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, Code for America and the Sunlight Foundation, have launched the Data Justice Network that aims to accelerate data-driven justice reforms by facilitating better collaboration among criminal-justice practitioners and policymakers. The platform, built with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, allows justice officials to find colleagues with relevant experience in working with data as well as justice-specific experience in areas such as crime prevention, pretrial procedures, mental health treatment and recidivism reduction. Users can share their innovative projects to gain visibility and inspire others while learning from their peers about what works, what doesn’t and how to implement new programs.