For The People
Expediting Case Reviews for Prosecutor-Initiated Resentencing
Los Angeles and Yolo Counties, CA
The number of people incarcerated in California has increased substantially in the past 40 years. Today, nearly 100,000 people are incarcerated in California state prisons and a disproportionate number of them are people of color. One avenue for addressing mass incarceration and reducing racial disparities in the prison system is prosecutor-initiated resentencing, which allows prosecutors to evaluate past cases and launch the resentencing and release of people whose incarceration does not serve the interest of justice. As part of this process, prosecutors must thoroughly review the prison files of candidates. But with the lengths of these files, it would take over three decades to manually review and summarize the case information for all cases eligible for prosecutor-initiated resentencing in California.
With Catalyst Grant funding, For The People will partner with the Possibility Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, to automate case reviews in prosecutor-initiated resentencing in Los Angeles and Yolo Counties. The Possibility Lab will test the automation tool on a large set of case files after development is completed. During the development phase, For The People and the Possibility Lab will collaborate with the two counties’ district attorney’s offices to make improvements to the code based on feedback from prosecutorial staff, implement the tool, test its impact, and develop a long-term plan to create a secure data warehouse of summarized files. The automated tool will use Microsoft-supported Python software. For The People will also explore the use of tools such as Microsoft Azure for security and data storage.