Measures for Justice inCalifornia
California has long been at the forefront of criminal justice change and innovation. Over the last decade, California has passed a series of laws designed to reduce the number of people under correctional supervision by reclassifying a range of offenses to be eligible for less serious criminal penalties. At the same time, California has moved to increase transparency in its criminal justice system, launching the OpenJustice web portal in 2015 and passing the Open Justice Data Act in 2016.
It is in this spirit that Measures for Justice began working in the state, in November of 2017, collecting criminal justice data from all 58 counties. The goal is to be able to return to California cleaned data sets that can speak to how well reforms have been working and that can gauge, in general, where success stories are being written for replication elsewhere.
To address the challenges our criminal justice system is facing and identify knowledge and evidence-based best practices, we need data from all criminal justice stakeholders, at the county levels. I firmly believe in the mission, goal, and method of Measures for Justice and I welcome the transparency it brings to our criminal justice system!Harlan G. Grossman
Superior Court Judge, Ret., Contra Costa County, CA
Current status of California Data Collection
Outreach initiated in43 / 58 Counties
Data received from agencies in22 / 58 Counties
California's criminal justice system is decentralized across the state's 58 counties. There is no one central repository for county-level data or single body that provides oversight of all criminal justice data collection. In addition, while California statutes explicitly allow Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) to be shared with "bona fide research organizations," California Rules of Court are more ambiguous regarding the sharing of criminal court records. Taken together, data collection in this state is a challenge.
As we collect data from agencies across the state, we will begin the process of cleaning and coding the data to prepare it for our data portal.
The latest news about Measures for Justice in California
California officials struggle to make informed decisions about criminal justice because of a lack of good data. A bill passed by the Legislature last week would begin to address the problem by improving the accuracy of criminal justice records and clarifying that the courts can share data with research organizations.
The California state legislature has passed AB 1331, a criminal justice data bill that aims to improve the quality of criminal justice records and creates a pathway for courts to share data with researchers. The bill is awaiting a signature of approval by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Resources for Agencies
- MFJ is dedicated to working collaboratively with local agencies and practitioners. We invite any and all to reach out to us with questions. Contact the California Outreach Team.
- Find out more about sharing criminal justice data in California.
California Advisory Council
To assist its efforts in California and ensure that they are responsive to local issues, MFJ has formed an Advisory Council comprised of respected stakeholders from and experts on the California criminal justice system (judiciary, law enforcement, public defender, prosecution, administrative offices of the courts, academics, etc.).
The Council will support MFJ’s California work by: helping with outreach out to data owners; sharing key thoughts and concerns regarding the data and Measures; speaking on behalf of the constituencies it represents and; serving as a liaison, answering questions others may have about Measures for Justice.
- Jim BueermannPresident, Police Foundation
- Justin ErlichVice President of Strategy, Policy & Legal at Voyage
- Harlan G. GrossmanJudge, Ret., Contra Costa County Superior Court
- Emily Putnam-HornsteinDirector, Children’s Data Network & Associate Professor, USC School of Social Work
- Stephanie L. JamesChief, San Joaquin County Probation
- James P. MayerPresident and CEO, California Forward
- Lenny MendoncaDirector Emeritus, McKinsey & Company
- Kevin O’ConnellOwner, O’Connell Research, Inc
- Steve RaphaelProfessor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
- Bryan L. SykesAssistant Professor, Criminology, Law & Society, UCI School of Social Ecology