Anywhere, USA / Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Persistence and baby steps pay off

How many misdemeanor cases involving Black men between 18-25 are being prosecuted? How about last month? And the month before that?

What about guilty pleas? What do the trend lines look like for case outcomes across demographics?

What kind of cases are getting dismissed the most? Who’s getting probation?

What about diversion programs that let people avoid a criminal record and conviction if they perform community service or go to rehab–does my community have those programs? Who’s getting them?

Are officers being trained to de-escalate conflict? How are they being recruited? How many officers in our department look like me? Do they live here?

After months of back and forth, processing, auditing, reviewing, re-processing, reviewing, auditing, the data begins to bear fruit.

In fact, the data begins to answer so many questions, it highlights just how little everyone knew beforehand. Some assumptions are confirmed. Others are debunked.

Meanwhile, the agency and CAB have agreed on a policy goal that can be tracked publicly.

And so the hard work begins of revising or bolstering policy based on what the data shows.

The prevailing sentiment now?

Trust begins with transparency via public data.