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Giving Compass' Take:
• Writing for The Hill, MacArthur Foundation's director for justice reform Laurie Garduque makes a plea for more robust and accurate data collection in the criminal justice system to mitigate over-incarceration.
• Will policymakers comply? One piece of legislation highlighted in Garduque's column is a bill signed in Florida that creates a more uniform process throughout all the state's counties, while Charleston, South Carolina also has a communal database. But more needs to be done.
• Besides data gathering, here's how technology will have an impact on criminal justice across the U.S.
Just a few days in jail can increase the chances that a person will face future arrest or incarceration. Once intended to hold people who were dangerous or who might flee before trial, jails have instead become de facto warehouses for people with serious mental illness and those who are simply too poor to post bail. The majority of people in jail are there for low-level offenses, and approximately two-thirds have not been convicted of any crime.
Implementing lasting reforms to address these challenges and reverse these troubling trends requires data-driven strategies that start at the local level. Only with more data will jurisdictions be able to see the full picture and tailor reforms accordingly so we can begin to answer critical questions about who is in jail, why they’re there, and what factors may be keeping them there unnecessarily.
For instance, in Charleston, South Carolina, county officials have created a communal database that aggregates information from courts, the county jail, and numerous local law enforcement agencies. Cross-referencing this data gives officials a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how Charleston’s criminal justice system is functioning and where potential inefficiencies or bottlenecks exist. Officials are already using insights from the database to identify and implement reform strategies, and have seen a significant decrease in the number of local jail admissions.
Read the full article about how data can help create a better criminal justice system by Laurie Garduque at The Hill.