What We Do / How We Measure

How We Measure

Our measures provide a comprehensive picture of how cases are handled from beginning to end across counties. As a result, they offer a bird’s eye view of how counties pursue justice.

Our Focus on High Quality Data

High quality data is an accurate, though sometimes imperfect, measurement of real world phenomena. Such data can be used to effectively guide decision making and bring about intentional and meaningful change. 

At MFJ,  one of our primary goals is to provide high quality data to users of our tools or services. To this end: 

  • We collaborate with external stakeholders to better understand the data we work with and the context from which it is derived.  
  • We develop rigorous processes to ensure that our data is reliable, drawing on the unique blend of domain expertise of our teams. 
  • We strive to make data quality concerns transparent and accessible to stakeholders and work to resolve them.
  • We encourage communities, including the institutions that serve them, to evaluate real-world outcomes informed by these data, and to continue to strive toward greater data transparency.
  • We acknowledge that sometimes data is not suited for every purpose. When we believe that data is not of high quality for a given purpose, we work with the relevant stakeholders to determine next steps.

Our Process for Developing Measures

We develop measures based on need, feasibility, and feedback. It’s a complicated process, but these are the basic steps we take to do this work:


Convene subject matter experts.


Define aspirational measures.


Hold listening sessions with stakeholders, including community members.


Evaluate feasibility of aspirational measures.


Pilot the measures in one or two sites.


Collect feedback from stakeholders.


Finalize measure definition.


Evaluate measures periodically to fine-tune them as needed.

What We Measure

Our measures provide a comprehensive picture of how cases are being handled across counties from beginning to end. They were developed over several years, with input from some of the country’s foremost experts in criminology and performance measurement.


We measure how cases move through the court system from arrest to post-conviction.

Prosecutor Offices

We measure cases flow data for prosecutors, from cases referred to case outcomes.

Police Departments

We are developing a national set of police measures based on input from communities and police chiefs.

Our Methodology

We have developed a detailed methodology to standardize criminal justice data across jurisdictions in the United States. Our full methodology is available for download below. It is updated periodically as our Measures expand and additional data become available.

Our Councils

We bring together experts nationwide to advise us on our work.


Methods & Measurement

The Methods and Measurement Council comprises some of the brightest and most talented people in the field of criminal justice research and measurement who help review data before publication and who revise and ratify our measures, which were originally developed by our Data Council.


The Benchmarking Council is a senior advisory group comprised of well-known and highly respected criminologists, all of whom have had an important impact on criminal justice theory and practice in the past few decades. The Benchmarking Council’s main focus is on devising ways to help people better understand what the data mean.


A senior advisory group comprised of some of the most experienced and innovative minds in the area of policing in the United States. The Policing Council provides guidance on the integration of policing measures into our platform.


Established in 2011, the Data Council included experts on the judiciary, the bench, indigent defense, race in the courts, etc. who helped isolate useful indicators of system performance and from them developed our initial set of measures.