We are committed to harnessing the power of technology and data science to improve the work of criminal justice reform.
Technology can help practitioners make better and quicker decisions, communicate with partners, and track case outcomes. By building state-of-the-art computer applications, the Center for Court Innovation seeks to speed case processing and enhance accountability.
With the support of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, we recently launched a new National Drug Court Online Learning System. The system offers free access to web-based drug court training, including video lessons by experts in the field, virtual site visits of drug treatment courts around the country, interviews with practitioners, and a resource library of documents and reference tools.
Civil Alternatives offers New Yorkers issued civil summons the option to perform community service instead of paying a fine.
Price of Justice Initiative
The Price of Justice Initiative helps jurisdictions address the disparate impact of fines and fees on defendants who cannot afford them.
Drawing on a case study of more than 175,000 defendants in New York City, this report concludes concerns over risk assessments perpetuating racial disparities in pretrial decisions are real. However, at least in the New York City example, it finds a more targeted use of risk assessments could both significantly reduce pretrial detention and alleviate racial disparities. But realizing that potential requires jurisdictions to think "beyond the algorithm"—what do they want to use a risk assessment for?
As the use of technology in the justice system becomes more common, it is important that those designing and implementing new systems adhere to principles that support human dignity with an eye on achieving objectives in the simplest and least intrusive way possible. These principles were developed by the Center for Court Innovation in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation and Blue Ridge Labs at the Robin Hood Foundation.
The Center for Court Innovation piloted a small electronic monitoring program—using smartphones—for young people under justice supervision. This article offers insights into the best ways to approach technology projects in the justice system, but also concludes that electronic tracking of 16- to 18-year-olds in school raised multiple challenges and provided too little benefit to serve as a replacement for traditional supervision methods.
Electronic monitoring is a vast umbrella of technologies and goals, our director of technology Shubha Bala explains in Law360, and in addition to regulation, there needs to be clarity about its expected outcomes.