Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren is launching a public data dashboard Thursday to improve transparency in his office.
The Hillsborough County office, along with prosecutor’s offices in Jacksonville, Chicago and Milwaukee, worked with criminologists from Florida International University and Loyola University in Chicago to create the database.
“Transparency builds trust. It’s that simple. Now, more than ever, we need to make sure everyone — from every neighborhood and every background — can have trust in their justice system,” Warren said in a news release.
The data dashboard tracks 23 indicators from the work the State Attorney’s Office is doing, including items such as “Are the actions the office is taking to reform juvenile justice helping?” and “How is the office making sure a person’s race does not affect their outcome?”
The goal: to advocate for victims and improve public safety. The dashboard will add more indicators in the months following the launch.
“We all know that parts of our justice system are out-of-date, by decades or even centuries. Tracking data like this helps us understand where we are succeeding and where we need to do better, and it lets us try new ideas then rely on data to know whether they’re working,” Warren said.
In order to craft the dashboard, the team from FIU and Loyola analyzed hundreds of thousands of files from Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit, covering Hillsborough County, as well as Florida’s 4th Circuit, covering metro Jacksonville.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson of the 4th Circuit is launching her office’s data dashboard later in December. Together, the two new public portals make up Florida’s first data dashboards for prosecutors.
“We’re digging into the data, even the data that’s not so pretty, to understand whether we’re delivering the products our customers want,” Warren said. For a prosecutor’s office, the products people want are a safer community, fair outcomes and lower costs for taxpayers.”
The dashboard was funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, as well as Milwaukee and Chicago, with a $1.7 million grant.
The effort has produced a set of Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPIs), which look to measure metrics within a prosecutor’s office such as crime reduction, supporting crime victims, diversion program success, consistency and fairness, racial disparities and the efficient use of limited resources.
The data dashboard is just one of several transparency efforts put in place under Warren, who has also created the office’s Racial Justice Work Group with community members and prosecutors as well as began releasing a public summary and evidence every time a Use of Deadly Force is reviewed.
The new dashboard found, among other trends, that Hispanic victims’ complaints are dismissed at about the same rate as White victims. However, it found a disparity among Black victims’ cases, data the office will evaluate to ensure better consistency.