Policymakers need precise, consistent, and useful data metrics that enable them to quickly and easily understand how people move through the criminal justice system and how related policy and financial changes may impact public safety.
But in criminal justice systems across the country, actionable data and information can be hard to come by. Critical data is often collected but not analyzed, analyzed but not shared, or shared but not acted upon. The result is a criminal justice system with a widespread desire to make data-informed decisions, but individual agencies lacking the time, ability, or organizational mandate to do so.
Justice Counts is designed to help policymakers and criminal justice practitioners make better decisions using data. The initiative centers on intense collaboration to provide policymakers with data and develop a set of criminal justice metrics that are attainable and impactful for any state or agency. Justice Counts establishes a large network of partners with connections in all 50 states and thousands of counties and cities across the U.S., representing key officials in the areas of policymaking, law enforcement, courts, corrections, behavioral health, and more.
Justice Counts will:
- Broadly scan public, aggregate-level criminal justice data in all 50 states to provide policymakers with timely information about their criminal justice systems, existing gaps in data collection, and opportunities for improvement;
- Develop and build consensus around a set of key criminal justice metrics that drive budget and policy decisions;
- Create a range of tools and resources that will enable policymakers and criminal justice practitioners to examine current practices and adopt the data metrics; and
- Encourage states and localities to make the new data metrics part of their day-to-day operations and provide selected states with technical assistance.