Mission: To use data to measure and understand the performance of the U.S. criminal justice system at the county level.
Background: There are more than three thousand counties and many more municipalities in the U.S., each with their own law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' and defenders' offices, and courts. But until recently there has been no way to collect data on their performance. Measures for Justice (MFJ) was founded in 2011 by journalist, attorney, and author (Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court) Amy Bach and colleagues to develop a data-driven set of measures that could be used to assess the criminal justice process in America on a county-by-county basis. The data collected falls into three broad categories: fiscal responsibility, fair process, and public safety. Supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Google.org, the MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Pershing Square Foundation, the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, as well as the Bureau for Justice Assistance in the Department of Justice, MFJ aims to boost the transparency and accountability of the criminal justice system in the U.S. and help legislators, advocates, and others initiate and/or catalyze criminal justice reform.
Outstanding Web Features: At the moment, the MFJ Web-based data tool allows users to compare data from six states — Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Utah, and Washington — which were selected for their geographical diversity and because they have unified statewide court databases. Users can explore the data for each state by "core measure" (covering all aspects of the criminal justice system, from crime and arrest to post-resolution) and individual county, and have the option to apply additional "filters" (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, sex, offense type and severity, attorney type, and court type). Users can also compare data for different counties within a state, generate interactive maps and bar charts, and layer one data point upon another. The latter are accompanied by a tabular presentation of the data for that state complete with explanatory footnotes.
Visitors to the site can also learn more about MFJ's process, team, and supporters, check out job opportunities with the organization, and avail themselves of a comprehensive collection of resources, including state data sheets and sets (in the form of zip files), logos and graphics, and an embeddable MFJ widget.