By: Merisa Heu-Weller (Microsoft On The Issues)
In the United States, some communities have very different experiences in their interactions with the justice system. There are policies, programs and practices within the criminal legal system that exacerbate racial inequities and disproportionately impact Black and African American communities.
At Microsoft, through our Justice Reform Initiative, we provide support to organizations using data and technology to develop alternatives to incarceration, accelerate the adoption of new models of public safety and expand access to data driven insights.
Today, Microsoft is partnering with the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPI), a national effort led by researchers at Loyola University of Chicago and Florida International University, to expand access to data-driven insights via new, publicly available data dashboards created in partnership with Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver and Colorado district attorneys’ offices. In the spirit of promoting transparency, prosecutors worked together with researchers, and with input from their communities, to create the data dashboards that will enable community members to gain a better understanding of the work going on in their local office, including trends in cases filed and resolved over time, identify patterns in how individuals are treated and evaluate how they are addressing serious crime and protecting and serving victims.
Prosecutors hold significant decision-making power, and the public wants to know what their local prosecutors are doing, especially given the increasing scrutiny on prosecutors and ongoing concerns that disparities in charges and sentencing recommendations are often correlated to race, ethnicity or wealth. However, most district attorneys’ offices are not able to aggregate, review, interpret or share data publicly…