San Francisco DA Launches Public Data Tool

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San Francisco

San Francisco streetcar. Photo by Tim Lees via Flickr

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón released a new tool Wednesday aimed at sharing decades of prosecutorial data and metrics with the public.

The database was originally created in 2013, based on information from the District’s Attorney’s office and local agencies dating back to 2011. Called DA Stat, it was not then available to the public.

With Wednesday’s release, the office is the first in the state of California to make this information public.

“Prosecutors’ offices are notorious for their lack of transparency,” said Nicole Zayas Fortier, advocacy and policy counsel at the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice. “Today, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón took the boldest voluntary step towards transparency yet.”

The dashboard made available to the public includes data on arrests and prosecutions made by the office, the types of incoming cases, and outcomes of trials. There are statistics about the number of arrests, felony filing rates, conviction rates, number of defendants and percent convicted per year made available through graphs and text.

A viewer can choose the type of crime she wants to view statistics on.

For example, one can find that in 2019, there have so far been 48 defendants on trial, 87.27 percent of these defendants have been convicted with an average trial length of 10.9 days.

In 2018, there were 12,000 arrests presented and 6,656 filed, putting the filing rate at 54.21 percent..

“Now, [Gascón’s] community has better access to truly understand how their elected official uses his vast discretion, and whether he exacerbates or combats mass incarceration and racial disparities in the system,” Fortier said.

“While it could certainly be improved by including information on demographics, plea deals, and incarceration recommendations to judges, this step is an exciting move towards ensuring the public knows how their local prosecutors are doing on the job.”

The information on the dashboard will be updated monthly. You can access the resource here.

Maria Trovato is a TCR news intern.

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