Criminal Justice Reform

We’re advancing long overdue reforms to reduce the harms of America’s broken criminal justice system.

In cities across America, communities face high rates of gun violence and significant harm caused by the criminal justice system, which disproportionately impacts people of color. For too long, the public sector has failed to address these overlapping and systemic crises, partly because policymakers view them as a trade-off. But to truly increase public safety, society must find solutions that advance justice and reduce gun violence simultaneously.

That’s why we’re working with public sector agencies to reform our criminal justice system by designing pretrial risk assessment tools, studying the effects of cash bail, and promoting treatment instead of incarceration for individuals arrested on non-violent substance use charges.

Our evaluation of the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program found participants were 44% less likely to be re-arrested for drug possession and violent crime charges.

We worked with Luminosity and the NYC Criminal Justice Agency to design and implement New York City’s pre-trial risk assessment tool, helping low-risk defendants avoid jail time while they await trial and helping judges avoid releasing high-risk defendants.

Related Projects
Illinois Department of Corrections’ (IDOC) Facilities Mapping Project
CURRENT

Illinois Department of Corrections’ (IDOC) Facilities Mapping Project

To improve access to college education opportunities in prison, the Crime Lab partnered with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to produce interactive statewide maps to connect facilities with nearby postsecondary education providers.

New Jersey Portfolio
CURRENT

New Jersey Portfolio

The Crime Lab is partnering with the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to help strengthen reforms to the state’s criminal justice system introduced in 2017, including eliminating cash bail and introducing a risk assessment tool to aid in pretrial release decisions.

Chicago Fire Department Technical Assistance

Chicago Fire Department Technical Assistance

Crime Lab data analysts were embedded in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) division of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) to generate data dashboards and visualizations using data from patient care reports.

Targeted Interventions for High-Risk Domestic Violence Victims
CURRENT

Targeted Interventions for High-Risk Domestic Violence Victims

The Crime Lab studied targeted approaches to identify high-risk domestic violence victims, conduct outreach, and provide resources to lower the risk of experiencing future harm.

Related Resources
Brookings Institution Commentary: Making the invisible epidemic visible
Research Brief

Brookings Institution Commentary: Making the invisible epidemic visible

Aug 2023

Using new data from a large urban trauma center in Chicago, we document substantial under-reporting of domestic violence at the time of receiving medical care.

Video about the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program
Video

Video about the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program

Jun 2023

This video provides an overview of the Crime Lab’s evaluation of the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program, a program implemented by the community behavioral health provider Thresholds.

NADP Research Brief
Research Brief

NADP Research Brief

Jun 2023

Research Brief for the Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program.

Press Release: IDOC Announces Comprehensive College Education in Prison Policy
Website

Press Release: IDOC Announces Comprehensive College Education in Prison Policy

Oct 2022

Latest Updates

The Gun Violence Prevention Forum
Event
Northwell Health
Feb 2024

The Gun Violence Prevention Forum

Crime Lab Director of Programs Kim Smith spoke at the 5th Annual Gun Violence Prevention Forum on February 27, 2024. This virtual event mobilized the collective efforts of leading executives, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers around gun violence as a public health emergency.

Faith leaders: City Hall must step up to the plate and provide more funding for violence prevention
Op-Ed
Chicago Tribune
Feb 2024

Faith leaders: City Hall must step up to the plate and provide more funding for violence prevention

Michael Pfleger, Otis Moss III, Seth Limmer, and Ciera Bates-Chamberlain comment on the importance of funding community violence intervention (CVI) initiatives and point to the Crime Lab’s CVI Leadership Academy as a shining example, whose inaugural cohort was recognized by Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House.

Advocate, activist and healer: Myesha Watkins is trying to make Cleveland safer
Media Mention
Cleveland.com
Feb 2024

Advocate, activist and healer: Myesha Watkins is trying to make Cleveland safer

Cleveland.com’s Molly Walsh highlights CVILA graduate Myesha Watkins’ visit to the White House as a part of the graduation of the CVILA’s inaugural cohort. Watkins is the executive director of the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, a crime prevention organization that focuses on helping communities become healthier environments to reduce violence.