Harnessing Civic Tech & Data for Justice in St. Louis

Report by Olivia Arena and Kathryn L.S. Pettit
June 11, 2018

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)
Rise   (St. Louis)

CivTech St. Louis began as a partnership between Rise and the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; GlobalHack; and LaunchCode. The CivTech St. Louis team recognized that data and technology could bridge the information gap and prevent people from going to jail for nonviolent, mostly traffic, offenses. The result was YourSTLCourts, an open-source website and text tool that pulls real-time data on tickets from most St. Louis area courts into a single clear interface. Residents can search by their citation number, their driver’s license number, or the location where they received their ticket. Additionally, a short message service (SMS) tool enables residents to receive text messages with court updates. The website also helps residents navigate the court system with information about what to expect in court and community service options.

From 2014 to 2018, the Civic Tech and Data Collaborative brought together local government officials, civic technologists, and community data organizations across seven communities to explore how to harness data and technology to benefit low-income residents. Three national organizations with local networks - Living Cities, Code for America, and the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership – guided the initiative. As part of the initiative, local collaboratives in Boston, St. Louis, and Washington, DC created products that use data and technology in new ways to improve services or programs in their cities. To access the three case studies, cross-site lessons, ecosystem mapping guide, and other project resources, visit https://www.neighborhoodindicators.org/ctdc.