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The Sunlight Foundation’s 'Hall of Justice' launched after 18 months of information gathering and programming.
The Sunlight Foundation unveiled on Tuesday its Hall of Justice, a searchable, online repository containing nearly 10,000 criminal justice datasets from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government.
Hall of Justice is the result of 18 months of work inquiring with local officials about publicly available datasets covering everything from domestic violence and death in custody to prison populations.
While not comprehensive, the data inventory raises important questions about protecting privacy while opening microdata and states’ vastly different criminal data collection methodologies.
“Data is shaping the future of how we address some of our most pressing problems,” said John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation executive director, in the announcement. “This new resource is an experiment in how a robust snapshot of data can inform policy and research decisions.”
Some states like California use portals to consolidate criminal justice data, while others let private efforts inform the public.
Standardizing dataset jargon can be daunting, but the Sunlight Foundation attempted just that across multiple states with matching terms like “solitary confinement” and “administrative segregation.”
“The inventory is a way to showcase potential issues with criminal justice data and highlight the need for more uniform and accessible information,” said Damian Ortellado, Sunlight research analyst, in the statement. “It helps us know what is missing versus what is available.”
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.