The Potential for Catalyzing Criminal Justice Reform with Data

Report by Dean Obermark, Kathryn L.S. Pettit
February 18, 2019

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

Local data intermediaries, like the members of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), have a track record of working with neighborhoods and across sectors to tackle community issues, and are well positioned to bolster criminal justice reform efforts. In a network survey, NNIP Partners identified community interests and needs across the span of criminal justice issues, with disparities in policing and incarceration and the system’s interaction with people who lack housing or have mental health issues highlighted as areas of concern throughout the country. About half the Partners reported projects related to criminal justice and many have robust relationships with community-based organizations working toward reform. Partners’ holdings of criminal justice data demonstrate progress in some areas, but more community access to data, particularly court data, is needed to provide insight, transparency, and monitoring for reform initiatives. In addition, their data on other neighborhood attributes—demographics, housing, education, and beyond—can support insights on local variations in criminal justice system practices and needs. 

For more information about the Catalyzing Community Criminal Justice Reform with Data project, see the NNIP website.