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Colorado ADs Unveil Prosecution Data Dashboards | Tech News

DENVER (AP) — A bipartisan group of eight Colorado district attorneys on Thursday unveiled online data dashboards providing information to the public about the cases they are pursuing, including the racial and economic status of defendants and the types of sentences handed down to them.

The effort is part of a trend among more prosecutors nationwide to provide more transparency to the public about how the criminal justice system works and also help them address any racial and economic disparities after the first identified in the numbers. Data is extracted from internal case management systems and then analyzed in a way that prosecutors and the general public can understand.

District attorneys in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago and parts of California are among those who have started using data dashboards — interactive collections of charts and tables showing data — to promote transparency, said Seleeke Flingai, senior fellow at the Vera Institute for Justice. The research and policy organization provided technical assistance to help district attorneys’ offices use the data to change policies affecting racial disparities and mass incarceration, but was not involved in the project. from Colorado. Flingai was unaware of any other statewide effort to share this data other than Colorado’s.

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Some jurisdictions have gone further than simply providing the summaries displayed on data dashboards. The Philadelphia district attorney’s office releases reports interpreting data on specific issues and offering solutions, Flingai said. Chicago’s top prosecutor, who was among the first prosecutors to use the data, Kim Foxx, is also making raw data available so people can parse it for what they’re looking for, said Mona Sahaf, deputy director of the Vera’s Reshaping Prosecution program.

John Kellner, the lead prosecutor for the 18th Judicial District in the southern suburbs of Denver, said he was interested in exploring more prosecution data after finding more white teenagers were being placed in programs. diversion than black teenagers because black teenagers tended to live in Aurora, where the city court did not provide a diversion option like city courts in other parts of the district did.

“Disparity doesn’t necessarily mean discrimination, but you want to understand why we have disparate results,” he said.

Kellner, the Republican candidate for Colorado attorney general in the November election, said he also hopes the following data could help prosecutors in his district focus on the biggest offenders in the growing problem of thefts. cars.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said prosecutors are “swimming upstream” against a fundamental mistrust of government and must work to earn the trust of the public, especially communities of color after a tough on crime has led to mass incarceration without offering enough help to the marginalized. people.

“Our collective challenge is to use this data to understand our work and apply to improve public safety and the criminal justice system,” said McCann, a Democrat who describes herself as a progressive prosecutor.

Colorado’s voluntary pilot program to analyze data and display dashboards was carried out with help from the Prosecution Performance Indicators Project, a joint effort led by researchers from Loyola University Chicago and the International University of Florida, and the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver.

Then the other 14 Colorado district attorneys will be asked if they also want to participate, said Lauren Gase, principal investigator and project director at the Colorado lab. Researchers will also take a closer look at racial data, she said.

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