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Policymakers’ Use of Data to Inform Criminal Justice Decisions

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2023
6 pages

This document on the Justice Counts national initiative contributes to the data-driven criminal justice reform efforts that are underway across the U.S. by laying out barriers and opportunities for policymakers to address access to, and effective use of, criminal justice data.


This document provides information about the Justice Counts national initiative, which has three core components: consensus-driven metrics for the entire system that help agencies focus on sharing the most critical data that policymakers need to make effective decisions; a novel set of tools to empower agencies to easily publish the metrics; and technical assistance to help agencies effectively and efficiently share data that answer policymakers’ most frequently asked questions, and better frame the narrative about their work to decision-makers. The Justice Counts metrics were developed by seven sector-specific subcommittees, composed of practitioners and researchers who focused on determining the most useful and feasible metrics for policymakers to consider and for agencies to publish. As part of an effort to implement data-driven criminal justice reform, this document provides an overview of policymakers’ use of data to inform criminal justice decisions, it discusses key challenges and barriers to accessing and using criminal justice data, and lays out key strategies that states have taken to integrate data into policy decisions.

Date Published: January 1, 2023