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Pennsylvania announces new criminal justice dashboard

The data aims to quantify the state’s efforts to reduce racial disparity within the system

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Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections launched a new information dashboard that aims to enhance Pennsylvania’s efforts to promote data transparency surrounding its criminal justice ecosystem.

The PADOC has partnered with Recidiviz to create a public-facing website designed to answer questions about prison and parole in Pennsylvania through data visualizations and provide insights to researchers, policymakers and journalists.

“Pennsylvanians have called for effective, bipartisan criminal justice reforms that won’t compromise public safety,” Wolf said. “Sharing updated information through this dashboard is the next step toward reaching our goal, and I will continue to push for data-driven reforms and transparency so that we can create a fairer correctional system.”

The dashboard, which is updated weekly, provides insights and opportunities for analysis. For example, visitors to the dashboard can investigate how the prison population has grown and shrunk in the past 20 years, or understand the most common reasons why individuals on parole or probation are sent back to prison.

“As we continue to see low levels of crime and drive toward a more equitable criminal justice system, we encourage Pennsylvanians to track our historic decarceration efforts with this new dashboard,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “Our partnership with Recidiviz is part of a comprehensive effort by the Department of Corrections and the PA Parole Board to reduce Pennsylvania’s prison population through data-based policies, reduce disparity and help individuals leaving the system be successful in the community.”

The dashboard aims to help the public understand and review steps Pennsylvania is taking to reduce systemic racial disparities. Pennsylvania’s state prison population has declined by more than 13,000 people since 2015, and people of color have represented 70 percent of the reduction.

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