Addressing Racial Disparities in Money-Bail and Pretrial Detention by Democratizing Data
Memphis and Shelby County, TN
The criminal legal system disproportionately affects Black people, who are arrested, incarcerated, and sentenced at higher rates because of racially biased practices and overpolicing. Pretrial detention, even for a few days, can have devastating consequences for people, including the loss of jobs, homes, and custody of children. Evidence also suggests that people who spend time in pretrial detention are at greater risk of returning to the criminal legal system, which imposes costs on and harms their communities.
With Catalyst Grant funding, Just City, in partnership with Innovate Memphis, launched a data stewards program with students from local universities to build a talent pipeline and skill sets in data visualization, web development, and data policy analysis. Led by a data scientist, the data stewards team pulled and integrated data from Shelby County’s jail and criminal court to better understand trends in bail decisions and the jail population. It also created interactive visualizations using the jail data and a website where it shares the data publicly to enhance transparency and accountability. Just City will continue analyzing and publishing data to drive local advocacy efforts around bail reform and inform upcoming local elections for key leaders in Shelby County’s criminal legal system.
Abolitionist Law Center
Allegheny County, PA
Faith in Indiana
Marion County, IN
Mecklenburg County, NC
Shelby County, TN
Just Communities Arizona
Texas Center for Justice and Equity
City of Houston and Harris County, TX