Chicago Justice Project

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The Chicago Justice Project just caught my attention.  According to their website:

The Chicago Justice Project, (CJP), is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to increasing public access to justice related information. Our guiding principle is that access to information is the foundation for any meaningful reform to the criminal justice system. Law enforcement agencies should be responsible to a community in their combined efforts to maintain a safe and secure environment. Community members cannot be equal partners in crime prevention? when their access to information is restricted.

On the heels of the Data and Public Policy event that I attended on May 8th, this organization makes me wonder if there aren’t many other organizations and indivduals that would get behind the mission of “evidence-based decision-making” in matters of public policy.  I would love to connect the leaders of the Chicago Justice Project, along with any other organization, that wants to see more transparency in government data for the purpose of improving society, without any diminishment to individual privacy.  A greater national or international voice in support of “EBD” would put greater pressure on governmental organizations to share their data with their constituents.  This may be “apple pie,” but I believe that this sharing of data will lead to better and more effective policies.

The post that really caught my attention was the following:

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is extremely restrictive about who gets access to data they create. It is clear that the CPD will not release data that can eventually be used against them to critique their actions; thus, it is the responsibility of all academics to question the legitimacy of all research that is based on what can only be thought of as coerced access. Is there some sort of overt or covert deal cut or understanding made, I do not know; but I must question the legitimacy of the access.

While the CPD stance is disappointing, it is good to get this out in the open so that a real debate can begin about governmental data being shared.

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