Leaders Propose Keeping Innovative Metrics to Break the Multi-layered Cycle of Mass Incarceration

This week, our article shares the ideas of five black leaders, including the singer John Legend, who are each working to utilize innovations in tech and metric data-keeping to evolve the social structures that currently enable the mass incarceration of people of color. This is a societal issue that has many complexities and these leaders are each honing in on a unique area. For example, John legend discusses the importance of electing the right individuals into government positions. Adam Foss emphasizes the need for metrics to track the performance of state and local prosecutors and local sheriffs. Deray Mckesson speaks on keeping accurate records of violence because at times only media reports are used in data collection. Malika Saada Saar talks about how important it is to remove the questions regarding past convictions on employment applications to enable former convicts to get jobs (Google is an example of a company currently making this change). Saar also emphasizes understanding how a sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline exists and leads to incarceration of young girls of color. Foss adds that keeping metrics and setting goals around helping non-violent offenders re-enter society must be a goal that gets rewarded. These days trials seem to rarely occur and outcomes tend to be decided based on individual district attorney’s decisions. Clarence Wardell III says that being transparent about what data we are collecting can actually drive more adaptive behaviors. Deray Mckesson talks about the pros and cons of body cameras and other ways of helping law enforcement be more accountable.

After reading this article, what are your ideas of optimizing the criminal justice system? What are your ideas about optimizing a challenge in your workplace or life that is multi-layered and very complex?


Article: What’s Next For American Prisons And Criminal Justice Reform? By JJ. McCorvey, Fast Company, February 2017

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