I’ve been involved with the design and implementation of numerous legal technology projects around the U.S. In large part, my goal is to make the criminal justice system simpler and easier to navigate for defendants and practitioners. This has included building expungement tools deployed in Maryland and Mississippi, as well as tackle police misconduct in the Bronx. Currently, I work on and maintain the two projects listed below.
To improve the discussion around pre-trial risk assessments used at bail, Keith Porcaro and I developed Detain/Release, a simulation. This tool puts the user in the role of a county judge at a bail hearing, and prompts them to detain or release individual defendants pending trial. In the simulation, users are served cases that look like the graphic above. The sim also has a dashboard that collects real-time data, including a statistical view, which breaks down the actions of all participants in the classroom.
We wrote a more in-depth article about how we built the tool and use it in class or trainings. While originally meant for students in our Georgetown Law course, the tool is now in open beta and has gained interest from policy organizations, practitioners and other universities looking to improve how they talk about risk assessments. If you take it for a spin, let us know what you think.
One of our core goals is to track and catalog the creation and evolution of justice technologies. So, we’ve built JusticeTech.info, a growing catalog of criminal justice technologies and data projects from around the world. There you will find projects categorized by technology, criminal justice system contact point and other tags. We also link to open source and open data repositories were available.
This project was born out of a 2016 report co-published with John Jay College, entitled Emerging Technologies and the Need for Evaluation. The aim of the report was to introduce justice stakeholders to the larger trends of government and civic technology, survey a variety of projects from around the country, and finally provide actionable steps to research and evaluate these projects to improve their impact. A concise summary of where we want this work to go can be found in a piece we wrote for Civicist.
If you see a project missing or a need for updates, please contact us.