OpenJustice puts California criminal justice data on display
- By Derek Major
- Sep 09, 2015
California Attorney General Kamala Harris last week announced the launch of OpenJustice, a criminal justice open data site that the state described as a "first-of-its-kind" initiative.
According to the California Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General, OpenJustice consists of two key elements: A dashboard of criminal justice indicators and an open data portal that encourages download and re-use of CDOJ data.
The dashboard uses three datasets: law enforcement officers killed or assaulted in the line of duty; deaths in custody, including arrest-related deaths; and arrests and bookings. Each set has interactive web tools to allow the public to visualize and explore different indicators over specific timelines and across jurisdictions.
The data portal publishes raw data from criminal justice datasets used by the CDOJ. That data can be downloaded by software developers, researchers and journalists to identify trends and problems in the criminal justice system.
“Being 'Smart on Crime' means measuring our effectiveness in the criminal justice system with data and metrics,” Harris said in the announcement. “This initiative puts forward a common set of facts, data and goals so that we can hold ourselves accountable and improve public safety.”
Harris also has led the charge for other data-driven tools such as SmartJustice, a CDOJ initiative that can track repeat offenders and offense trends to provide counties with more effective options in developing anti-recidivism initiatives.
Data on police interactions have grown more popular in other parts of the nation as well. Earlier this year, for example, Code for America unveiled its Police Open Data Census -- a collection of police interaction datasets that included use of force incidents, officer-involved shootings and complaints against police from more than 27 jurisdictions across the country.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.