Closer to home, we remain committed to an active research model. We have assigned researchers to each of our operating programs to provide us with regular feedback about what works and what doesn't so we can make adjustments as needed.
In 2016, Adam Foss, a young prosecutor in Boston, gave a TED Talk on reforming his profession that became a sensation. Today he trains incoming prosecutors in D.A. offices across the country. In the latest episode of our series on prosecutors, Foss says the problem isn't that prosecutors have too much power; it's that no one is teaching them to use it for good.
Who gets to decide which reforms to the criminal justice system receive the imprimatur of "evidence-based"? To combat what she sees as the monopoly over these decisions created by the high cost of the current evaluation model, Angela Hawken founded BetaGov, offering free and fast evaluations of public policy programs. What is more, as Hawken explains on our New Thinking podcast, the ideas tested generally come from practitioners, or even clients, inside the systems themselves.
We have long been committed to using data to tell us what works (and what doesn't) when it comes to our reform work. As our director, Greg Berman, explains in this profile of nonprofits' use of data from Crain's New York Business: "I reject the kind of pass-fail analysis where something is a massive success or total failure... If you dig into the data, there's always something you can learn."
Our director, Greg Berman, argues the fight to transform the American justice system will not be won "from the offices of our foundations, elected officials, or editorial boards." Along with macro reform ideas, look for micro changes in practice with far-reaching implications.