Franklin County joins national Justice Counts criminal justice system database
Franklin County officials hope that by joining a statewide database, they can share investigative details and crime statistics more quickly and efficiently to better identify trends and address inequalities in the criminal justice system, make the county safer, and help victims.
The county will become the first local government in the nation — and the second organization in Ohio — to join the Justice Counts initiative, officials announced Wednesday, a day after the Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to participate and launch a row Say goodbye to metrics to guide database creation.
The county’s Criminal Justice Planning Board heard details of the program Wednesday afternoon from managers of the program administered locally through the Office of Justice Policy and Programs.
Justice Counts is a consensus-building effort by the US Department of Justice led by the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments and 21 partner organizations, and aims to make criminal justice data more accessible and usable for policymakers. The idea, according to the initiative, is to do this by:
Create consensus metrics
Development of a special digital infrastructure to present metrics and data
Provision of technical support to entities taking the initiative
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“People shouldn’t have to wait years to get critical information that will help uncover inequalities within the justice system that need to be corrected,” Erica Crawley, president of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, said in a news release. “This initiative will enable pressing issues such as unequal treatment to be identified earlier and give policymakers the tools they need to make more informed decisions.”
Agencies already voluntarily provide information to the FBI and other criminal databases, but Justice Counts provides them with a common framework to share and compare information in a streamlined format that police, prosecutors, probation officers and court officials will help build over the coming months , he told Katie Mosehauer, program director at the State Council Justice Center.
The county’s participation in the initiative will also make it easier for victims, particularly those of domestic violence or sexual abuse, Commissioner John O’Grady said in a news release.
“As it stands now, victims have to keep reminding themselves of the abuse as their case moves through the justice system because every agency needs that information,” O’Grady said. “This system will help eliminate some of that duplication, which is a huge benefit to those who have already been victimized.”
Partner organizations include the National Sheriffs’ Association, the American Probation and Parole Association, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute.
This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch: Franklin County Joins National Justice Counts Database