PROJECTCatalyst Grant Program



Kheprw Institute

Identifying Disparities in Arrest and Prosecution Data in Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

In response to George Floyd’s murder and calls to address racial inequality in the criminal legal system, Indianapolis, like many cities, is implementing a series of reforms. Among these are policy changes in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to stop prosecution of simple marijuana possession. These policy changes may not be reflected in policing practices. When someone is arrested but not charged, it can indicate a mismatch between how law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are allocating and prioritizing resources. 

With Catalyst Grant funding, the Kheprw Institute will partner with the Polis Center at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing—IUPUI to study charging decisions for arrested people in Indianapolis whose cases are dismissed before disposition. Kheprw and Polis will focus on identifying whether these cases show disparities in charging related to race, ethnicity, or sex. They also will collect and analyze publicly available aggregated data from the Marion County criminal history repository information system, including arrest and demographic information, individual-level arrest and jail data, and prosecution data. They will match the arrest data to prosecution data to examine demographic variations, the details of the alleged offenses, and time-and-date variations to identify patterns and trends in prosecutorial decisions to charge or not charge arrested people. Methods and findings will be documented and shared through community conversations, conferences, workshops, and a public report with data visualizations. The goal of this work is to build a more informed public that can better recognize inequalities in the legal system, participate in the political process to reduce those inequalities, and improve the legal system in Indianapolis. 


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