Colorado DAs unveil data dashboards on prosecutions

Sep 8, 2022, 6:43 AM | Updated: 6:47 pm

DENVER (AP) — A bipartisan group of eight Colorado district attorneys on Thursday unveiled online data dashboards providing information to the public on the cases they prosecute, including the racial and economic status of defendants and the kinds of sentences handed down for them.

The effort is part of a trend among more prosecutors nationally to provide more transparency to the public about how the criminal justice system works and also help them address any racial and economic disparities after first identifying them in the numbers. The data is taken from internal case management systems and then analyzed in a way that can be understood by prosecutors and the general public.

District attorneys in cities including Philadelphia and Chicago and parts of California are among those that have started to use data dashboards — interactive collections of graphs and tables showing the data — to promote transparency, said Seleeke Flingai a senior researcher at Vera Institute for Justice. The research and policy organization has provided technical assistance to help district attorney offices use data to change policies affecting racial disparities and mass incarceration but was not involved in Colorado’s project. Flingai was not aware of any other statewide effort to share such data other than Colorado’s.

Some jurisdictions have gone farther than just providing the summaries shown on data dashboards. Philadelphia’s district attorney’s office publishes reports interpreting the data on specific issues and offering solutions, Flingai said. Chicago’s top prosecutor, who was among the first prosecutors to use data, Kim Foxx, also makes raw data available so people can analyze it for what they are looking for, said Mona Sahaf, deputy director of Vera’s Reshaping Prosecution program.

John Kellner, the top prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District in Denver’s southern suburbs, said he became interested in exploring more prosecution data after discovering more white teens were being put into diversion programs than Black teens because the Black teens tended to live in Aurora, where the municipal court did not provide a diversion option as municipal courts in other parts of the district did.

“Disparity does not necessarily equal discrimination but you want to understand why we have disparate results,” he said.

Kellner, the Republican candidate for Colorado attorney general in November’s election, said he is also hoping following data can help prosecutors in his district focus on the biggest offenders in the growing problem of auto thefts there.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said prosecutors are “swimming upstream” against a fundamental mistrust of government and need to work to earn the public’s trust, especially from communities of color after a tough on crime approach led to mass incarceration while not offering enough help to marginalized people.

“Our collective challenge is to use this data to understand our work and apply to improve public safety and the criminal justice system,” said McCann, a Democrat who describes herself as a progressive prosecutor.

Colorado’s voluntary pilot program to analyze the data and post the dashboards was done with the help of the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators Project, a joint effort led by researchers at Loyola University Chicago and Florida International University, and the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver.

Next, Colorado’s other 14 district attorneys will be asked if they would also like to participate, said Lauren Gase, a senior researcher and project director at the Colorado lab. Researchers will also be taking a deeper look into racial data, she said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on Monday, Sept...

Associated Press

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

10 hours ago

FILE - The Amazon logo is displayed, Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon's profitable clo...

Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging the e-commerce behemoth uses its position in the marketplace to inflate prices

16 hours ago

KYIV, UKRAINE - 2022/09/03: A man looks at an image generated based on the stories of displaced chi...

Associated Press

Tech companies try to take AI image generators mainstream with better protections against misuse

Artificial intelligence tools that can conjure whimsical artwork or realistic-looking images from written commands started wowing the public last year. But most people don't actually use them at work or home.

20 hours ago

Image: Actor David McCallum attends an event for "NCIS" during the 2009 Monte Carlo Television Fest...

Associated Press

David McCallum, star of hit series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS," has died. He was 90.

1 day ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests indicating a positive result are photographed in New York, April...

Associated Press

Biden administration announces $600M to produce and distribute COVID tests

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is providing $600 million in funding to produce new at-home COVID-19 tests and is restarting a website allowing Americans to again order up to four free tests per household

2 days ago

FILE - The Amazon app is seen on a smartphone, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa. Afte...

Associated Press

Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic in growing tech battle

Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in Anthropic and taking a minority stake in the artificial intelligence startup, the two companies said Monday.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Colorado DAs unveil data dashboards on prosecutions