The Justice Wire
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The Justice Wire

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Joins Prosecutorial Performance Indicators Network

CONTACT:

Jane Roh, 215–686–8711, jane.roh@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 2, 2020) — On the one-year anniversary of the launch of its Public Data Dashboard, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO) has joined a network of nationally recognized researchers and prosecutors committed to advancing transparency and accountability through new measures of prosecutorial practices.

In keeping with District Attorney Larry Krasner’s commitment to make the criminal legal system more transparent and accountable than it’s ever been, the DAO is partnering with Florida International University and Loyola University Chicago to implement Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPIs). This innovative partnership is part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge. It further advances groundbreaking efforts by the DAO to use data dashboards to communicate with the public about prosecutorial decision-making and its impact on communities.

“When I was elected in 2017, voters demanded sweeping reforms to the justice system,” District Attorney Krasner said. “Three years later, our commitment to evidence-based policy informed by data and to transparency remains strong. You can’t fix what you don’t measure. This is a step toward measuring our prosecutors’ performance to fix what’s broken and make it better. Today marks another milestone toward our shared vision for a justice system that treats people with dignity and equity.”

Officially launched today, the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators are 55 new measures of performance that challenge and expand traditional measures of success in the field of prosecution. Historically, prosecutorial performance has been measured by number of cases filed, conviction rates, and sentence length, which over decades encouraged punitive and costly policies and created the crisis of mass incarceration. Amid widespread protests and calls for reimagining public safety, the PPIs provide an overdue shift toward priorities of safety, community well-being, justice, and fairness.

“Joining this effort keeps pushing us to reimagine what we measure, how Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) and supervisors can use data, and the roles of prosecutors,” said Oren Gur, PhD, Director of Research and the District Attorney’s Transparency Analytics (DATA) Lab. “Rather than prosecution being flat or only having a handful of measures, the PPIs help us see prosecution as dynamic and multi-layered.”

ADA Michael Hollander, Director of Analytics and Assistant Director of the DATA Lab, highlighted that advancing racial justice is a significant component of the PPI framework. There are seven measures dedicated to assessing racial and ethnic disparities at case filing, pretrial detention, diversion, and sentencing. “The DATA Lab is eager to work closely with our colleagues, community, and research partners to better understand racial and ethnic disparities [in the Philadelphia criminal legal system],” Hollander said.

The DAO joins five other prosecutorial offices dedicated to a new vision for prosecution, including offices from Charleston, S.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Milwaukee, Wis.;, and Tampa, Fla.

“The Prosecutorial Performance Indicators are also an office management and performance measurement tool,” said Besiki Kutateladze, a criminology professor at Florida International University and lead researcher on the project. “As more and more prosecutors are seeking guidance about how to use data to bring about a new vision for justice, it is time for researchers and prosecutors to work together in close partnerships. We look forward to working with both prosecutors and researchers from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.”

The indicators look at nine objectives within a prosecutor’s office, from increasing timely disposition of cases, to reducing racial and ethnic disparities, to expanding community outreach and engagement. These metrics create a multilayered and holistic assessment that moves beyond individual cases to determine offices’ broader impact. They also allow prosecutors to discern trends to learn about progress and to anticipate problems.

About the Partners:

PPI team includes: Besiki Kutateladze, Florida International University; Don Stemen, Loyola University Chicago; Rebecca Richardson, Florida International University; Melba Pearson, Florida International University; Ana Carazo, Florida International University; Lin Liu, Florida International University; Branden DuPont, Medical College of Wisconsin; David Olson, Loyola University Chicago.

Florida International University is Miami’s only public research university. Designated a top-tier research institution, FIU emphasizes research as a major component in its university mission. FIU is among the top 10 largest universities in the nation. Of its 54,000 students, 67% are Hispanic and 12% are Black.

Loyola University Chicago, a private university founded in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities and the only one located in Chicago. Loyola is among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation.

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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 citizens 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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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is committed to seeking fair and equal justice for 1.5 million residents, while upholding Constitutional rights.

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