Crime Lab, Crime Lab New York, Education Lab Advancing Justice
Council on Criminal Justice
The Crime Lab is partnering with the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) to launch an independent Task Force on Policing to identify the policies and practices most likely to reduce violent encounters between officers and the public and improve the fairness and effectiveness of American law enforcement. As part of our commitment to meaningful police reform and more equitable public safety, the Crime Lab is serving as the primary research partner for the Task Force, evaluating the empirical evidence that will guide the panel’s recommendations.
In Chicago, the rate at which homicides and non-fatal shootings are solved, known as the “clearance rate,” is among the lowest of any major U.S. city. One challenge to clearing more cases is the vast amount of digital and video evidence that needs to be collected and analyzed for each case. To address this technology gap, the Chicago Police Department and the Crime Lab collaborated to develop and evaluate new Area Technology Centers, which seek to provide detectives with better resources and high-quality digital evidence that’s critical to solving crimes and preparing cases for court.
Embedding Analysts to Support Analytic Work and Increase Agency Capacity
The Crime Lab and Education Lab provide pro bono technical assistance to government agencies and nonprofits that do not have the capacity to meet all of their research and data needs.
Individualized Learning to Improve Outcomes for Youth in Juvenile Prisons
Youth who are at the most at-risk for violence involvement are also often failed by the traditional education system. The Education Lab has partnered with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice to test the effectiveness of an innovative, individualized virtual schooling program in juvenile correctional facilities.
The Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (JISC) is a facility designed to divert children from the justice system and support their development through in-house services and through referral to community-based services that are tailored to their specific needs. To help the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Family and Support Services, and the Chicago Police Department improve the JISC, the Crime Lab is bringing together data from multiple agencies to support the City to make informed, data-driven policy recommendations to the JISC and the juvenile justice system more broadly.
Juvenile Justice Agency Collaboration: Improving the System
Established through a partnership between the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois, the Juvenile Justice Agency Collaboration (JJAC) aims to identify and disseminate best practices to reduce recidivism, decrease crime, and enhance system equity for justice-involved youth. The JJAC asked the Crime Lab to partner on this important work, providing technical assistance, analyzing relevant data, and ultimately, exploring opportunities to generate rigorous evidence about how to help youth in contact with the juvenile justice system.
At the Forefront of Prison Reform: An Evaluation of the Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center
The Crime Lab is partnering with the Illinois Department of Corrections to conduct a randomized controlled trial of the Kewanee Life Skills Re-entry Center to understand whether this model can improve post-release recidivism and employment outcomes in the U.S. This facility is at the forefront of prison reform efforts, and we believe findings from this evaluation could provide policymakers nationwide with a roadmap for how to effectively reduce incarceration rates.
M3 Youth Tours
The Crime Lab is assisting the organization My Block, My Hood, My City (M3) with implementing the Youth-Led Tour initiative, in which youth from M3 bring Chicago police recruits on guided tours of their neighborhoods.
Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program (NADP)
In 2016, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area partnered with the community healthcare provider Thresholds and the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Health Lab to design, test and scale the CPD Narcotics Arrest Diversion Program (NADP), a police-led drug deflection program that connects offenders to substance use treatment and releases them without charge. The Crime Lab and Health Lab are evaluating NADP’s effect on participants’ health and wellbeing, and criminal justice contact both as arrestees and victims.
New Jersey Criminal Justice Reforms
In 2017, New Jersey took the bold step of eliminating cash bail, breaking the long-held link between a defendant’s ability to pay and whether they would be jailed while awaiting trial. At the same time, New Jersey introduced a pretrial risk assessment tool to help judges reserve pretrial detention for only the highest risk defendants. The Crime Lab is partnering with the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to leverage the unprecedented “big data” from New Jersey’s comprehensive criminal justice data infrastructure. Crime Lab will work with the AOC to further strengthen the reforms to benefit the state’s 9 million residents, and to provide a model for other jurisdictions around the country.
RAPID Employment and Development Initiative (READI Chicago)
READI Chicago connects individuals at elevated risk of gun violence involvement with 18 months of paid transitional employment with regular engagement with behavioral science-informed supports, skill-building, and support services, plus an additional six months of follow-up case management and coaching. The Crime Lab is rigorously evaluating the program’s effectiveness in order to measure its impact on participants and providers.
Reducing Failure to Appear
Each year in New York City, 40% of the people who are issued a low-level ticket fail to show up at their required court date. The Crime Lab partnered with city agency partners and ideas42, a behavioral economics design lab, to show that small improvements in how we communicate with people caught up in the criminal justice system can have large impacts on their likelihood of showing up at court. Read more about this work in the academic journal Science.
Reducing Recidivism in New York: Evaluating Reentry Forums
Crime Lab is partnering with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to evaluate the impact of reentry forums in New York on recidivism.
Updating the CJA Release Assessment: A Data-Driven Tool to Help Reduce Pretrial Incarceration
In partnership with New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Criminal Justice Agency, Luminosity, and others, Crime Lab built a data science tool called the CJA Release Assessment that helps judges identify the low-risk defendants who can be released without bail or other pretrial conditions.