Become a Justice Counts State

Becoming a Justice Counts state demonstrates state leaders’ commitment to making accessible, usable criminal justice data a permanent reality across the criminal justice spectrum, from law enforcement and prosecutors to courts and prisons. Better criminal justice policy requires better data, and better data requires a sensible, flexible, and robust approach to gathering, sharing, and using these data.

This includes clear metrics for agencies to share, support for agencies to adopt and share those metrics, infrastructure to make that sharing easy (and, when possible, automated), and support for policymakers to effectively use the metrics to drive policy and funding decisions impacting their criminal justice system and agencies.

There are a variety of ways to become a Justice Counts state, including: 1. Independent State/Agency Adoptions, 2. the Founding States Program, and 3. the Implementation Grant Program.

Independent State/Agency Adoptions

Individual agencies or a coalition of criminal justice agencies can leverage resources available on the Justice Counts website to assess readiness to share, build interest, and begin sharing Justice Counts metrics. Resources available to support these efforts include the following:

Founding States Program

Ten states will have an opportunity to become founding Justice Counts states. Founding states will receive a technical assistance package that includes the following:

  • Intensive, short-term state engagement
  • Participation in the design of the digital infrastructure to ensure it meets agency needs and enables easy sharing of Justice Counts metrics
  • Hands-on technical assistance to onboard at least one agency from each of the seven Justice Counts sectors into the digital infrastructure
  • Direct support for policymakers to understand and effectively use the metrics to drive policy and budget decisions

Justice Counts has created multiple pathways to become a Founding State and will seek to make each of those pathways as easy as possible for state leaders.

Five Ways to Become a Justice Counts Founding State

Interested states must demonstrate a strong commitment to using data to present a timely, accessible cross-system picture for policymakers and the public. Justice Counts will be most successful when state leaders work collaboratively and openly across municipal, county, and state criminal justice agencies that currently collect and house needed data. Here are five ways states can demonstrate that they are ready to be a founding Justice Counts state.

1. Executive Order

Your state’s governor can issue an order directing criminal justice agencies to participate in Justice Counts. Download a sample executive order here.

2. Legislative Resolution

Your state’s legislature can issue a resolution encouraging agencies to participate in Justice Counts. Download a sample legislative resolution here.

3. Letter of Request

Criminal justice leaders from across the system can come together to commit to Justice Counts and request technical assistance. Download a sample letter of request here.

4. Working Group Request

An existing cross-system body working on criminal justice data or policy issues can also issue a letter of request to be a Justice Counts state.

5. Self-Assessment Participation

If 30 percent of a state’s criminal justice agencies demonstrate interest through the self-assessment, the state can be accepted as a Justice Counts state. Take the self-assessment today.

Download the Be a Justice Counts Founding State Toolkit for a range of resources, from initiative talking points to coalition building.

Implementation Grant Program

Up to 15 states will also be selected to receive funding and training and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) that includes the following:

  • Longer-term state engagement
  • Support in coordinating a state-specific plan to leverage local resources to implement Justice Counts
  • Onboarding into an established digital infrastructure and help perfecting ways to easily share Justice Counts metrics

You can also visit BJA.gov to learn more about grant opportunities to support your Justice Counts work. These opportunities for states are not mutually exclusive; states are invited to leverage the full range of tools to help successfully implement Justice Counts.

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