Is Your Justice System Working? A New Tool Pries Open County-Level Data

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Sculpture by John Vanek. Photo by Jason Taellious via Flickr

A free data tool launched today by Measures for Justice (MFJ) is aimed at providing policymakers, practitioners and journalists with a county-level view at how criminal cases are handled from arrest to post-conviction.

The tool, which so far provides a portal to data from over 300 counties in six states,  represents a “treasure trove for communities that will now have access to reliable, informative and comprehensive data about their criminal justice systems,” said Amy Bach, President and Executive Director of the Rochester, NY-based Measures for Justice.

Amy Bach

“Our Portal is intended to be a starting point for conversations about how to address the multiple issues facing the criminal justice system.”

The six states covered so far are Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Utah, North Carolina, and Washington. The project began over six years ago with funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Google and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

The tool is available here.

MFJ says it aims to measure 20 states by 2020, with support from existing funders as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The portal allows users to review and compare performance data within and across states, and to break them down by race/ethnicity; sex; indigent status; age; offense type; offense severity; and attorney type.

It comprises data that has been passed through 32 performance measures developed by some of the country’s most renowned criminologists and scholars. The measures address three primary objectives of criminal justice systems: Public Safety; Fair Process; and Fiscal Responsibility.

Editor’s Note: For TCR’s interview with MFJ President Amy Bach, please click here.

The Center on Media, Crime and Justice, publisher of The Crime Report, is working with MFJ to train journalists in using the portal. Deadline for applying to the training session, scheduled June 12-13 in New York City, is today. Applications are available here.  Readers’ comments are welcome.

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