September 26, 2018
Interesting look at data collection and use in prosecutorial decision-making
The folks at the Urban Institute have this interesting new issue brief titled "Collecting and Using Data for Prosecutorial Decisionmaking: Findings from 2018 National Survey of State Prosecutors’ Offices." Here is how it starts and concludes:
Prosecutorial data collection, data use, and data-driven decisionmaking are subjects of emerging interest among prosecutors, other criminal justice stakeholders, advocates, and policymakers. How much data are prosecutors collecting? How are they using data (if at all), and how has that helped decisionmaking? What resources and infrastructure do prosecutors use, and what barriers prevent effective uses of data? In early 2018, the Urban Institute surveyed prosecutors’ offices across the country to seek answers to these questions. Elected prosecutors and staff members responded from 158 offices representing jurisdictions of all sizes, from sparsely populated rural parts of the country to urban areas with more than a million residents....
Across the country, prosecutors and other criminal justice system stakeholders are grappling with how to best use data to improve outcomes. The findings presented here demonstrate that many prosecutors’ offices collect and use data throughout the case decisionmaking process, from screening to sentencing. And, many respondents express interest in and a desire to learn more about data collection and how it can be used to improve prosecutorial practices. Some offices have implemented innovative, data-driven initiatives to better manage their offices and address system-wide trends such as rising crime rates. Nevertheless, significant barriers stand in the way of broader collection and use of data. A lack of resources and concerns about data accuracy inhibit offices who want to pursue data collection from doing so. Further investigation into these barriers, as well as the development of innovative solutions to address them, will help expand the practice of data-driven decisionmaking in interested offices.
The analyses presented here demonstrate a relationship between data collection and use. Offices that want to realize the benefits associated with data use must begin by collecting relevant metrics. By increasing data collection efforts, and later using that data in decisionmaking, prosecutors’ offices can better identify and respond to trends, demonstrate their successes, and link their decisions to safety and justice goals.
September 26, 2018 at 11:26 PM | Permalink