Prosecutorial Performance Indicators
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We work with prosecutor’s offices to improve analytic capacity, add performance indicators, & ameliorate racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system.
The Problem
For decades, law enforcement, courts, and corrections agencies have collected, analyzed, and used data. But prosecutors’ offices have been different. Rarely did prosecutors use data to examine trends in cases filed or disposed, to guide decision making, or to assess performance. And rarely was prosecution data made available for analyses by academics, policymakers, or the media.
But prosecutors’ offices can no longer be any different. Prosecutors increasingly are expected to collect data, to employ data to guide their decisions, and to use data to communicate about the performance of their offices to the public. Advocates and professional groups are stepping up calls on elected prosecutors to adopt policies and practices that increase transparency – calls that include greater communication and engagement with the community about decisions and case outcomes. Many newly elected prosecutors have campaigned on platforms of increasing prosecutorial accountability and transparency – platforms built around the collection, use, and dissemination of data.
In addition to calls for transparency, elected prosecutors also realize that improving prosecutorial performance and decision making are impossible without data. Data tell prosecutors what problems are the biggest threats to community well-being and point toward solutions to tackle those problems. Data can identify the nature and extent of racial and ethnic disparities in case outcomes and can shape reforms to correct such disparities. Data can measure the overall impact of prosecutors’ work and determine policies or practices that need to be changed. In the end, prosecutors’ offices are expected to become data-driven organizations, following the movement in other private and public sector organizations.
The Project
The goal of this project is to promote more effective, just, and transparent decision making in prosecution through the creation of data dashboards and the use of prosecutorial performance indicators.
Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Criminal Justice – in partnership with researchers at Florida International University and with support from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative, and the Schusterman Family Philanthropies – is working with prosecutors from across the United States to expand prosecutor offices’ data and analytical capacity, to explore options for capturing new information, and to establish a practice of using data to measure performance and engage with the communities.