Data and technology present an opportunity to support reforms aimed at advancing equity in the criminal legal system. The United States faces a deep and systemic problem of racism and racial biases in its criminal legal system. Black people experience the brunt of these issues as they are stopped by police, arrested, detained, incarcerated, and convicted at higher rates than white people. We have witnessed decades of growth in incarceration, which carries generational consequences to communities’ economic prosperity, family structures, employment opportunities, and overall well-being. Data and technology continue to be underutilized tools but promise great opportunity for innovation. This guide is for community groups designing projects using data and technology to advance racial equity in the criminal legal system. It offers advice on setting goals, identifying collaborators, and planning for project analysis and products.
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:
- Advice from the Field: Requesting Data from the Criminal Legal System
- Best Practices in Community Surveys for Criminal Legal System Reform
- Strategic Communication of Reform Efforts in the Criminal Legal System
Visit the Catalyst Grant Program Insights page for more resources and stories about the grantees.