In 2017, Florida passed ground-breaking legislation to standardize the way the state collects and shares data. The bill proceeded from recommendations MFJ made to the Florida judiciary about the state of its data. Based on that bill and on our extensive experience with data collection, management, and release, we have developed Model Legislation that can serve as a guide to any state legislature invested in improving data and, by extension, its criminal justice system. While MFJ recommends tailoring this Model Legislation to the existing statutory framework and data infrastructure in each state, at minimum, all states need clear mandates regarding the following:
Whereas, complete, accurate, and timely criminal justice data are necessary for implementation and assessment of criminal process;
Whereas, data standards ensure data are consistent, reliable, and comparable;
Whereas, government should provide the public full access to information concerning the conduct of government, mindful of individuals' privacy rights and the desirability of the efficient administration of government.
Therefore, the following should be enacted:
It shall be the duty of the state Department of Justice to collect all data described below from all state and local criminal justice agencies and from any other appropriate source. This includes the following data elements, which shall be collected electronically on a weekly basis from the following persons and agencies:
In order to facilitate the availability of comparable and uniform criminal justice data, the department shall:
MFJ recommends that all states identify a state agency to act as a criminal justice data aggregator and repository for data from local criminal justice agencies across the state. The specific agency serving in this function will vary based on state-specific dynamics and the organizational structure of the state criminal justice system. Below are a set of capabilities that a data aggregator and repository agency should have:
If you’re interested in MFJ assessing your state’s data or want to know more about how to improve data collection, recording, and sharing, please CONTACT US.