What We Do

When it comes to issues like jobs and public health, Americans can generally trust that their elected leaders are operating with up-to-date information. Criminal justice is a different story.

By the time it reaches the desks of policymakers, data related to jails, probation, and crime is often outdated—months or sometimes years old. Even when criminal justice agencies are able to gather data promptly, they lack the time, ability, or mandate to paint a complete picture. Information is scattered across multiple offices and departments, rarely consolidated in a way that is useful for the people working to improve how the system functions. Decision-makers are left with a muddled, incomplete sense of what’s really happening.

These shortcomings aren’t new, and they haven’t gone unnoticed. Several organizations have set out to improve the landscape of criminal justice data and have made great strides in demystifying what continues to be a complex and multifaceted system. Different initiatives have focused on critical parts of the problem: creating detailed standards for how data should be collected and databases should be organized, focusing on analysis to pinpoint the latest trends in criminal justice systems, and conducting extensive research with the end goal of public consumption.

Justice Counts builds on the momentum of these previous efforts to comprehensively address the many missed opportunities within the system, when criminal justice data is collected but not analyzed, analyzed but not shared, or shared but not acted upon. With a first-of-its-kind national coalition of leading criminal justice organizations, Justice Counts combines the collection, analysis, and reporting of criminal justice data to meet the needs of policymakers at a time when up-to-date, accessible data is more crucial than ever. Justice Counts will provide states and localities with data metrics that can help leaders make informed budgetary and policy decisions without requiring costly upgrades.

Learn more about who we are.

Download the Overview (PDF)


What We’ll Deliver

State Data

We will aggregate publicly available data from each of the 50 states to provide timely, integrated information and identify opportunities to improve data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Consensus

We will bring state and local leaders together to reach consensus about a baseline set of criminal justice metrics that can inform budget and policy decisions.

Resources

We will create a range of tools that will enable policymakers and practitioners to improve how their state or locality collects, analyzes, and reports criminal justice data.