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Policy Library

Improve Law Enforcement, Public Safety and Fairness With Transparent Criminal Justice Data

The Justice Data Act provides communities, law enforcement, advocates and policymakers the data to understand and improve our justice system. Collection of data on police-civilian interactions gives police and communities the information they need to ensure best practices and eliminate racial and ethnic profiling. Common-sense data collection on arrests, pleas, trial outcomes, and sentences helps identify the geographic areas and parts of the criminal justice process in need of reform.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

Florida, California (12), Illinois, North Carolina

Introduced in:

New York

In The News

“The first-of-its-kind measure requires various actors across the system to compile information that the state will then make available for the public in a central database. Its author, state Rep. Chris Sprowls (R), wants Florida to have ‘the most robust collection and most transparent reporting of criminal justice data of any state in America.'”
“In North Carolina, mounds of traffic-stop data lay dormant for a decade before academics like Frank R. Baumgartner, a University of North Carolina political science professor, began sifting through the statistics for evidence of bias in 2011. The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Durham, has used the patterns of racial disparities to bolster demands for restrictions on searches and other changes.”

Partners

  • Public safety advocates
  • Criminal justice advocates
  • Crime victims
  • Prosecutors

Opposition

  • Those who benefit from limited information on law enforcement and criminal justice
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
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FAQ

Who does this help?
This bill helps everyone who has an interest in fair criminal justice policies and procedures: law enforcement; residents subject to racial and ethnic profiling or excessive force; other members of the public; and policymakers. Making more criminal justice data available is a critical step to improving justice systems and transparency is key to effective policy and community engagement.
Is this high-cost to the state?
The small start-up costs for data collection are repaid many times over by long-term improvements to criminal justice systems made possible with information, including by reducing prison populations and decreasing criminal justice delays and inefficiencies.
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Model Policy

SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the Justice Data Act.

SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
This act creates a model of uniform criminal justice data collection by requiring local and state criminal justice agencies to report complete, accurate, and timely data, and make such data available to the public. The Legislature finds that it is an important state interest to implement a uniform data collection process and promote criminal justice data transparency.

SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):

(a) It is the goal of STATE to establish uniform criminal justice data collection to promote criminal justice data transparency.

(b) Beginning one year from the effective date of this law, an entity required to collect data shall collect the specified data on a biweekly basis, and report collected data into the centralized database managed by DEPARTMENT on a monthly basis.

(c) The following data shall be collected:
  • (1) data on misdemeanor offenses in all courts, disaggregated by county, including the following information: (i) the aggregate number of misdemeanors charged; (ii) the offense charged; (iii) the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of the individual charged; (iv) whether the individual was issued a summons or appearance ticket, was subject to custodial arrest, and/or was held to arraignment as a result of the alleged misdemeanor; (v) the zip code or location where the alleged misdemeanor occurred; (vi) the disposition, including, as the case may be, dismissal, acquittal, adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, plea, conviction, or other disposition; (vii) in the case of dismissal, the reasons therefor; and (viii) the sentence imposed, if any, including fines, fees, and surcharges.

  • (2) data on violations in all courts, disaggregated by county, including the following information: (i) the aggregate number of violations charged by the filing of an information; (ii) the violation charged; (iii) the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of the individual charged; (iv) whether the individual was issued a summons or appearance ticket, was subject to custodial arrest, and/or was held to arraignment as a result of the alleged violation; (v) the zip code or location where the alleged violation occurred; (vi) the disposition, including, as the case may be, dismissal, acquittal, conviction, or other disposition; (vii) in the case of dismissal, the reasons therefor; and (viii) the sentence imposed, if any, including fines, fees, and surcharges.

  • (3) data on all police stops including the (i) The time, date, and location of the stop; (ii) The reason for the stop; (iii) The result of the stop, such as, no action, warning, citation, property seizure, or arrest; (iv) If a warning or citation was issued, the warning provided or violation cited; (iv) If an arrest was made, the offense charged; (v) the perceived race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the person stopped, provided that the identification of these characteristics shall be based on the observation and perception of the peace officer making the stop, and the information shall not be requested from the person stopped. For motor vehicle stops, this paragraph only applies to the driver, unless any actions specified apply in relation to a passenger, in which case the characteristics specified in this paragraph shall also be reported for him or her; (vi) actions taken by the peace officer during the stop, including, but not limited to, the following: (A) Whether the peace officer asked for consent to search the person, and, if so, whether consent was provided. (B) Whether the peace officer searched the person or any property, and, if so, the basis for the search and the type of contraband or evidence discovered, if any. (C) Whether the peace officer seized any property and, if so, the type of property that was seized and the basis for seizing the property. If more than one officer or peace officer performs a stop, only one officer is required to collect and report to his or her agency this data.

  • (4) data on any arrest-related death, disaggregated by county, wherein an arrest-related death is a death that occurs during law enforcement custody or an attempt to establish custody including, but not limited to, deaths caused by any use of force. The data shall include the following information: (i) the number of arrest-related deaths; (ii) the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of the individual; (iii) the zip code or location where the death occurred; and (iv) a brief description of the circumstances surrounding the arrest-related death.

  • (5) data on all other cases in all courts, disaggregated by county, including the following information: (i) the aggregate number of cases charged by the filing of an information; (ii) the crime charged; (iii) the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of the individual charged; (iv) whether the individual was issued a summons or appearance ticket, was subject to custodial arrest, and/or was held to arraignment as a result of the alleged violation; (v) the zip code or location where the alleged violation occurred; (vi) the disposition, including, as the case may be, dismissal, acquittal, conviction, or other disposition; (vii) in the case of dismissal, the reasons therefor; and (viii) the sentence imposed, if any, including fines, fees, and surcharges;

  • (6) Further data on all other criminal cases, disaggregated by county, including the following information: (i) date alleged offense occurred; (ii) date the defendant is taken into physical custody by law enforcement or is issued a notice to appear; (iii) date that the criminal prosecution of a defendant is formally initiated through information or indictment; (iv) arraignment date; (v) attorney assignment date; (vi) attorney withdrawal date; (vii) case status; (viii) disposition date.

  • (7) Data related to bail or bond and pretrial release determinations, including the dates of any such determinations, Pretrial release determination made at a first appearance hearing that occurs within 24 hours of arrest,

  • (8) Information related to court dates and dates of motions and appearances, including: a. Date of any court appearance and the type of proceeding scheduled for each date reported. b. Date of any failure to appear in court, if applicable. c. Judicial transfer date, if applicable. d. Trial date. e. Date that a defendant files a notice to participate in discovery. f. Speedy trial motion and hearing dates, if applicable. g. Dismissal motion and hearing dates, if applicable.

  • (9) Information related to sentencing, including: a. Date that a court enters a sentence against a defendant. b. Charge sentenced to, including charge sequence number, charge description, statute, type, and charge class severity. c. Sentence type and length imposed by the court, including, but not limited to, the total duration of imprisonment in a county detention facility or state correctional institution or facility, and conditions probation or community control supervision. d. Amount of time served in custody by the defendant related to the reported criminal case that is credited at the time of disposition of the case to reduce the actual length of time the defendant will serve on the term of imprisonment that is ordered by the court at disposition. e. Total amount of court fees imposed by the court at the disposition of the case. f. Outstanding balance of the defendant’s court fees imposed by the court at disposition of the case. g. Total amount of fines imposed by the court at the disposition of the case. h. Outstanding balance of the defendant’s fines imposed by the court at disposition of the case. i. Restitution amount ordered, including the amount collected by the court and the amount paid to the victim, if applicable.

  • (10) Information related to a human victim of a criminal offense, including: a. Identifying information of the victim, including race or ethnicity, gender, and age. b. Relationship to the offender, if any.

  • (11) Regarding prosecutorial offices, disaggregated by county: a. Number of full-time prosecutors. b. Number of part-time prosecutors. c. Annual felony caseload. d. Annual misdemeanor caseload. e. Any charge referred to the state attorney by a law enforcement agency related to an episode of criminal activity. f. Number of cases in which a no-information was filed. g. Information related to each defendant, including: Each charge referred to the state attorney by a law enforcement agency related to an episode of criminal activity. Drug type for each drug charge, if applicable.

  • (12) Regarding public defense agencies, disaggregated by county: a. Number of full-time public defenders. b. Number of part-time public defenders. c. Number of contract attorneys representing indigent defendants for the office of the public defender. d. Annual felony caseload. E. Annual misdemeanor caseload.

  • (13) Regarding county detention facilities.—a. Maximum capacity for the county detention facility. b. Weekly admissions to the county detention facility for a revocation of probation or community control. c. Daily population of the county detention facility, including the specific number of inmates in the custody of the county that: (i). Are awaiting case disposition. (ii). Have been sentenced by a court to a term of imprisonment in the county detention facility. (iii) Have been sentenced by a court to a term of imprisonment and who are awaiting transportation to the department. (iv). Have a federal detainer or are awaiting disposition of a case in federal court.

  • (14) Regarding county detention facilities, Information related to each inmate, including: a. Date a defendant is processed into the county detention facility subsequent to an arrest for a new violation of law or for a violation of probation or community control. b. Reason why a defendant is processed into the county detention facility if it is for a new law violation or a violation of probation or community control. c. Qualification for a flag designation as defined in this section, including domestic violence flag, gang affiliation flag, habitual offender flag, pretrial release violation flag, or sexual offender flag. d. Total population of the county detention facility at year-end. e. Per diem rate for a county detention facility bed. f. Daily number of correctional officers for the county detention facility. g. Annual county detention facility budget. h. Revenue generated for the county from the temporary incarceration of federal defendants or inmates.

  • (15) Regarding state detention/correctional facilities, information related to each inmate, disaggregated by county, including the following information: a. the race, ethnicity, age, and sex b. Number of children. c. Education level, including any vocational training. d. Date the inmate was admitted to the custody of the department. e. Current institution placement and the security level assigned to the institution. f. Custody level assignment. g. Qualification for a flag designation as defined in this section, including sexual offender flag, habitual offender flag, gang affiliation flag, or concurrent or consecutive sentence flag. h. County that committed the prisoner to the custody of the department. i. Whether the reason for admission to the department is for a new conviction or a violation of probation, community control, or parole. For an admission for a probation, community control, or parole violation, the department shall report whether the violation was technical or based on a new violation of law. j. Specific statutory citation for which the inmate was committed to the department, including, for an inmate convicted of drug trafficking the statutory citation for each specific drug trafficked. k. Length of sentence or concurrent or consecutive sentences served. l. Tentative release date. m. Gain time earned n. Prior incarceration within the state. o. Disciplinary violation and action. p. Participation in rehabilitative or educational programs while in the custody of the department.

  • (16) Information about each state correctional institution or facility, including: a. Budget for each state correctional institution or facility. b. Daily prison population of all inmates incarcerated in a state correctional institution or facility. c. Daily number of correctional officers for each state correctional institution or facility.

  • (17) Information related to persons supervised by the department on probation or community control, including: a. Identifying information for each person supervised by the department on probation or community control, including his or her name, date of birth, race or ethnicity, sex, and department-assigned case number. b. Length of probation or community control sentence imposed and amount of time that has been served on such sentence. c. Projected termination date for probation or community control. d. Revocation of probation or community control due to a violation, including whether the revocation is due to a technical violation of the conditions of supervision or from the commission of a new law violation.

  • (18) Per diem rates for: a. Prison bed. b. Probation. c. Community control.

  • (19) The DEPARTMENT shall promulgate rules and regulations to facilitate the collection and transmission of the data required to be collected under this act, and can provide grants from existing resources to support this data collection.

  • (20) Beginning 450 days after passage of this bill, the DEPARTMENT shall publish collected datasets in a modern, open, electronic format that is machine readable and readily accessible by the public on DEPARTMENT’s website. The published data must be searchable, at a minimum, by each data element, county, circuit, and unique identifier.

  • (21) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an entity required to collect and transmit data under this act which does not comply is ineligible to receive funding from the DEPARTMENT or any state grant program for 5 years after the date of noncompliance.