Collaboration and Social Networking

NYU Tandon School of Engineering Launches Online Data Hub for Criminal Practitioners

New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, in partnership with the Governance Lab (GovLab), has launched a “social network” for criminal practitioners and policymakers to collaborate and utilize data to inform decision-making.     

The Data Justice Network (DNJ) is a peer-to-peer, web-based hub where criminal justice practitioners can:

  • Search for and connect with colleagues with relevant experience;
  • Ask and answer questions posted by others; and
  • Track their own knowledge of innovative ways to use data at every stage of the criminal justice process via user profiles.

“Today, collaboration among criminal justice practitioners is one of isolated sharing of know how,” according to the DNJ website. “This leads to duplicate work, reinventing the wheel; and doesn’t help with improving the outcomes of our criminal justice programs.”

“Being able to use data effectively and responsibly is extraordinarily important,” said Beth Simone Noveck, director of the GovLab and a professor at NYU Tandon, in a statement. “Data can help policymakers understand past performance of public policies and services – both their efficiency and their disparate impact. More data enables the delivery of more tailored interventions in the present by making it possible, for example, to identify and divert someone suffering from mental illness or substance abuse into appropriate treatment and out of jail. Better access to data even helps with foretelling future outcomes such as predicting who is likely to recidivate.”

The GovLab is based at NYU Tandon, as well as the MIT Media Lab. The lab designs and tests technology, policy and strategies that “enable open and collaborative problem-solving inside a variety of organizations,” according to its website.

The Data Justice Network was built by the GovLab, with support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a philanthropic organization that also utilized data to solve challenges in the criminal justice system, as well as The Justice Management Institute, a Virginia-based nonprofit that provides solutions for advancing knowledge and practice within the administration of justice.  

The Data Justice Network is now open to criminal justice practitioners and policymakers. Further information is available on the DJN site.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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