California Launches OpenJustice Initiative


California is opening up criminal justice data with a new initiative. On Wednesday, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris unveiled a new open data portal for the state, focusing solely on criminal justice. The tool consists of two components: a Dashboard that spotlights key criminal justice indicators and Open Data Portal that publishes raw data from the California Department of Justice’s statewide repository of criminal justice datasets.

The initiative is notable as it focuses squarely on the high-value data that many open government supporters have been clamoring for.

In a statement, Attorney General Harris says that the initiative is aimed at improving trust in the criminal justice system. The data on the portal will include – police killed or assaulted while at work, deaths in custody, and arrests and bookings statewide. The state says more data will be available in the coming months.

As part of the initiative, Attorney General Harris is expanding her work with law enforcement to improve reporting by eliminating unnecessary requirements and modernizing data reporting processes.

“Being “Smart on Crime” means measuring our effectiveness in the criminal justice system with data and metrics,” said Attorney General Harris. “This initiative puts forward a common set of facts, data and goals so that we can hold ourselves accountable and improve public safety.”

Harris has also directed a 90-day review of the Division of Law Enforcement’s policies on use of force and implicit bias, and convened the state’s law enforcement leaders to share best practices through her 21st Century Policing Working Group. California is also piloting body cameras for police.

The OpenJustice portal is available here.