Catalyst Grant Program Insights Best Practices in Community Surveys for Criminal Legal System Reform
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business woman on the street with device interviewing

The perspectives of community members—the people directly impacted by system change—should inform strategies for reforming the criminal legal system. However, the people most affected by the criminal legal system are often the least involved in policy decisions and are infrequently consulted for their perspectives. Community surveys are one of several data-collection tools that can help groups learn about people’s experiences with the criminal legal system. This guide describes the benefits of community surveys and the steps to design, administer, and analyze them.

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This is one in a series of guides developed by the Urban Institute for community groups, drawing on the experiences of Catalyst Grant Program participants and Urban researchers. The Catalyst Grant Program is a collaboration between the Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative to help nonprofit organizations use data and technology to advance racial equity in the criminal legal system.

The other Catalyst guides in this series are:

Visit the Catalyst Grant Program Insights page for more resources and stories about the grantees.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Tags Community data use Community engagement Data and technology capacity of nonprofits Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice Criminal prosecution Policing and community safety Alternatives to incarceration