The Justice Wire
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The Justice Wire

DAO DATA Lab Launches Research Portal to Promote Transparency, Collaboration

CONTACT:
Jane Roh, 215–686–8711, Jane.Roh@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 25, 2021) — The District Attorney’s Transparency Analytics (DATA) Lab will be sharing research and policy reports, including grant funding sources, on the DATA Lab public dashboard to promote greater collaboration with academics and law enforcement partners: DATA.PhilaDAO.com/Research. These collaborations provide more information about the criminal justice system, which has a long history of hiding from public and academic scrutiny.

District Attorney Larry Krasner created the DATA Lab in 2019 with grant funding to enhance transparency and accountability for the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) and the Philadelphia criminal legal system. The DATA Dashboard, which updates crime incident, arrest, and charging information daily, was created to support understanding of the Philadelphia criminal justice system among journalists, law enforcement partners, academics, and the public at large. The DATA Dashboard also releases information on homicides, non-fatal shootings, commercial burglaries, and property offenses every month.

“Perception is not reality. Reality is reality. We need to know and scientifically measure the truth to fix our broken criminal justice system,” District Attorney Krasner said. “This administration recognizes that ineffective prosecution, ineffective policing, inadequate service to victims and survivors, mass incarceration, and over-supervision have harmed everyone indirectly or directly, but especially Black and brown and poor Philadelphians. I’m proud of the research partnerships the DAO’s grant-funded DATA Lab has established with top academic institutions and foundations as we continue building a model for transparency and accountability that may be of help to other prosecutors’ offices. The next step is to be humble enough to go where reality and truth lead us.”

Current DAO DATA Lab research partners include Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators Network. Research is funded by organizations including Arnold Ventures and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

The DAO DATA Lab research portal is accessible to the public, and discloses grant-funded partnerships along with published studies on DAO policies and practices such as resentencing of juvenile lifers, pre-trial and bail reforms, and criminal legal system interactions preceding fatal overdoses. Ongoing research that will be shared in the future through planned publication include studies of the impacts of police body worn cameras on prosecutorial outcomes; the use of select misdemeanor offenses among persons with serious mental illness; and the impacts of automatic sealing of cases on recidivism and economic outcomes.

“Our Penn research team and the DAO have developed a productive research program studying bail reform, gun prosecution, racial disparities, diversion programs, and prosecutor performance creating numerous opportunities to learn how to improve prosecution in Philadelphia and beyond,” said Professor Greg Ridgeway, Chair of the Penn Department of Criminology. “This new page highlighting research at the DAO shows they are working with a range of academics to help better understand the role of prosecution — it is a testament to what is possible when an office is interested in knowing what works and makes data and its personnel available to support research.”

“This research repository is a clear indicator that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is supporting a range of important criminal justice research and quickly becoming a hub for academics looking to understand various aspects of prosecutorial decision making,” said Professor Tarika Daftary-Kapur of Montclair State University. “The DAO DATA Lab not only supported our project on the resentencing of juvenile lifers in Philly, but has continued to inform our work with released juvenile lifers in the community. It is a pleasure to work with a public office that values data transparency and is willing to openly share data with researchers.”

The DAO DATA Lab invites researchers to propose new studies and research collaborations to inform understanding among policymakers and the public of the criminal legal system’s impacts on Philadelphians and the city as a whole. Members of the public may receive DAO DATA Lab updates, including new policy research, by signing up here: tinyurl.com/DAOResearchAlert.

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.

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