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Can data science help prosecutors increase diversion and racial equity?

The Possibility Lab has partnered with California 100 and District Attorneys’ Offices in California to develop anAI-based algorithm designed to reduce the number of people entangled in the criminal legal system, decrease racial disparities, and increase community safety and wellbeing. The development of this system serves three interrelated goals: first, reducing the prosecution of cases that pose a low risk to public safety and are shown by a large body of research to be more effectively addressed without formal prosecution; second, reducing caseloads through earlier and more effective identification of cases eligible for discharge or diversion; and third, increasing the prosecution of difficult-to-identify but high priority cases that pose a significant risk to public safety.

Reforming our justice system and rebuilding trust within our communities will rely upon increased diversion and social service provision, and more broadly, for existing systems to learn more effective ways of assessing and addressing responses to crime. By using data-driven technology to streamline the initial review process, DAs will be able to quickly recognize cases eligible for diversion, discharge cases that involve racially discriminatory practices such as pretextual stops, and focus attention on cases at the source of significant community harm.

This project was made possible with funding from California 100.