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Researchers Launch New Tool to Measure Success in Prosecutors’ Offices


Today, criminologists from Florida International University and Loyola University at Chicago, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge, launched Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPIs), including implementation guides, training videos and data from prosecutor’s offices, all included on a new website:  ProsecutorialPerformanceIndicators.org. The PPIs are 55 new measures of performance that challenge and expand traditional measures of success in the field of prosecution. Historically, prosecutorial performance has been measured by metrics such as number of cases filed, conviction rates and sentence length, thereby encouraging tough-on-crime policies and feeding mass incarceration. Amid widespread protests and calls for reimagining public safety, the PPIs provide a timely shift toward priorities of safety, community well-being, justice and fairness. The implementation guides offer a comprehensive process for data collection that makes the tool accessible for prosecutor’s offices of all sizes. “Data is a powerful instrument that can help prosecutors see the impact of their decisions on their communities through multiple measures over time,” said Besiki Kutateladze, a criminology professor at Florida International University and lead researcher on the project. “As more and more prosecutors are seeking guidance about how to use data to bring about a new vision for justice, it is time for researchers and prosecutors to work together in close partnerships.”

Don Stemen, a criminology professor and chair at Loyola University Chicago, added: “To make a difference, we need to equip prosecutorial offices with better data. But more importantly, we need to help them to become intelligent consumers of the information. That’s why our focus has also been on training mid-level managers in using the PPIs.” 

  • Robust racial disparity analyses with findings shared in community meetings.

  • Public dashboards that enhance prosecutorial transparency and accountability.

  • Development of data and analytic capacity within prosecutors’ offices, including recruiting and training research and data staff.

  • Increased capacity of mid-level managers to use data over time to identify areas for changes in policy and practice.

“The time for justice is always right now. Prosecutors are one of the most powerful players in the criminal justice system, which means we cannot reform the system without investing in prosecutorial fairness and efficiency,” said Aisha Edwards, program officer of Criminal Justice Programs at the MacArthur Foundation. “Data and research must be the drivers of this reform, and the Foundation is committed to bringing researchers and prosecutors together to do that work.” “With communities across the country calling for a reimagining of the criminal legal system, these indicators are a key step toward tracking how prosecutors are fulfilling a new vision of justice,” said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution. “Every prosecutor in the nation should embrace this tool to develop more holistic and reparative solutions, grounded in data, to build healthier and safer communities.”

For more on the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators visit this website: ProsecutorialPerformanceIndicators.org

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