Built in 2013 by Code for America fellows and Louisville, KY, Jail Dashboard visualizes how decisions–at both the individual and policy level–affect the program, facility, and inmate outcomes.
“We are so excited to partner with counties to help make jail population data more accessible to decision-makers across the justice system,” says Jenny Montoya Tansey, Director of Safety and Justice at Code for America. “Counties across the country are revamping their justice systems, investing in community-based solutions to increase public safety and reduce costs. Real-time data is an important building block that can help make those efforts more effective, safe, and sustainable.”
Impact of Jail Dashboard
The Criminal Justice Commission has been waiting since about 1980 to have something like this. When they saw the first real iteration of the dashboard, there were literally tears in people's eyes because they could answer questions in real time and they had confidence in the data. It was just breathtaking.
Since the fellows left Louisville in November, 2013, the City has continued to maintain the dashboard. The dashboard has even spread to other cities, including the City of Denver. They pulled the code from GitHub (an open source platform) and launched the dashboard in their city.
“The jail dashboard has increased visibility into our operations and has been a key instrument for data-driven decision-making,” said Chief Gary Wilson of the Denver Sheriff’s Department.
Through these pilots, we’ll be looking at Jail Dashboard’s effectiveness on case-level and system-level decisions made by district attorneys, judges, sheriffs, and other users that affect jail populations.
Introducing the White House Data-Driven Justice Initiative
Code for America is also excited to partner with the White House Data-Driven Justice initiative. The WH DDJ is a community of state, county and city governments that are working to implement data-driven approaches to improve public health and safety, and reduce unnecessary incarceration. In particular, the participants are focused on reducing jail stays for people awaiting trial and for individuals experiencing mental illness and substance abuse issues.
Code for America’s jail dashboard is one way that jurisdictions can begin to identify and target these populations and track their progress towards the goals of the initiative. DDJ will create opportunities for jurisdictions to learn from each other how to use data to address high levels of incarceration, especially for populations with health problems.