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article imageBipartisan data initiative to reduce U.S. prison population

By Jack Derricourt     Jul 5, 2016 in Politics
The Obama Administration is looking to lower the prison population through innovative data management. The Data-Driven Justice Initiative (DDJ) was announced on June 30, and will work to divert low level prisoners out of the prison system.
The US government has come under criticism for their prison population numbers. As stated in a White House press release regarding the DDJ: Every year, more than 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails, many on low-level, non-violent misdemeanours, costing local governments approximately $22 billion a year.
The Administration hopes the DDJ will divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system by providing more resources to first responders. The White House is also looking to increase the options to secure release for identified low risk defendants at the pre-trial stage.
As Engadget reports, some communities are already seeing results: "Mecklenburg County, North Carolina used data strategies to find low-risk offenders who could be released early. They were able to lower their prison population by 40 percent with jumps in reported crime."
The Administration will use the most successful data implementation strategies to craft a DDJ toolkit — a collection of best practices that will connect local communities with federal resources and funding for newly developed programs to divert low risk offenders.
As part of the initiative, the White House will look to the tech community for guidance. Amazon is hosting a consortium at which top data experts will share their ideas on criminal justice solutions. The consortium will include tech industry leaders such as Amazon and Apriss, but also organizations like the University of Chicago Center for Data Science and Public Policy, the California Department of Justice, and Code for America. In conjunction with local communities, the consortium will look to establish a policy working group, which will in turn shape the next steps in the DDJ's research efforts.
More about White house, Data, Amazon, Mental health, US prison population