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Strategies for Responsible Data Sharing between Administrative Agencies – A Presentation to the Arnold Foundation Data Driven Criminal Justice Projects Coaching Program

The goal of the Data Driven Criminal Justice Projects Coaching Program, supported by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and organized by The GovLab, is to support the work of public entrepreneurs trying to improve people’s lives. The twenty teams and individuals participating are among those who are fighting to improve the criminal justice system and who have asked for help integrating new technology into hidebound bureaucracies or developing approaches for sharing data responsibly.
Starting the second week of June, the GovLab, an action research institute based at New York University, has been providing skill-based coaching and expert mentoring to practitioners who share a common desire to make greater use of data to understand past performance, improve day-to-day operations, and develop innovative enhancements to the operations of the criminal justice system.  We are supporting work at the local level, for example, to build a better recidivism risk profile, develop a process for matching the supply and demand of crisis psychiatric beds to reduce the number of mentally ill people going to jail, and identifying how many juveniles are sent to juvenile hall versus those who are diverted to other programs.
During the third online group session of the coaching program on July 13, we brought in experts on data sharing between administrative agencies to help those working on projects designed to enable the sharing of information between criminal justice and mental health agencies, in particular. More details about the session here.
The first of those presentations was by Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer at the GovLab, who spoke about frameworks for responsible data sharing :
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB70sczHb4I[/youtube]
Overview of the presentation: In this presentation, Stefaan focused on how to develop data driven criminal justice initiatives in a responsible manner. There are substantial risks across the data life cycle –collection, analysis and use of data– that, if not addressed or mitigated, may harm the intended beneficiaries (in terms of harmful disclosure of sensitive information or negative profiling) or those part of the initiative (in terms of reputation, liability and otherwise). By applying a four step process organizations can establish responsible data practices that are embedded from the outset of a project.
Please find the slide-deck of presentation here.

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BigData GovLab Academy GovLab Blog

Data Driven Criminal Justice Projects Coaching Program: Online Mentoring to Support Public Interest Entrepreneurs

Repost from Jun 13, 2016
With a dramatic rise in the numbers in prison, there is bipartisan support – and a major White House push — for improving public safety while reducing incarceration and making our criminal justice system fairer. A key tool in the movement for criminal justice reform is the ability to use data to understand where problems lie and to develop and test new solutions. But a recent survey by the GovLab showed that many of those working in criminal justice, health, mental health and related agencies – though expert in their own fields – often lack the computational skills needed to pursue data-driven reform efforts.
That’s why this week forty-five people from twelve states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington, DC) and sixteen cities will meet online for the first session of a first-of-its-kind coaching program designed to help those working on data-related criminal justice innovation projects take their work closer to implementation and scale.

Aimed at those practitioners who share a common desire to make greater use of data to understand past performance, improve day-to-day operations, and develop innovative enhancements to the operations of the criminal justice system, the goal of the Data Driven Criminal Justice Projects Coaching Program,, supported by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and organized by The GovLab, is to support the work of these public entrepreneurs trying to people’s lives. The twenty teams and individuals participating are among those who are fighting to improve the system and who need help integrating new technology into hidebound bureaucracies or developing approaches for sharing data responsibly. Beth Simone Noveck, NYU Professor and Director of the Governance Lab, will coordinate the program.
Over the next ten weeks, the GovLab, an action research institute based at New York University, will provide skill-based coaching and expert mentoring to support those trying to build a better recidivism risk profile or to develop a process for matching the supply of crisis psychiatric beds to the demand for them to reduce the number of mentally ill people going to jail or trying simply to count how many juveniles in their jurisdiction are sent to juvenile hall versus those who are diverted to other programs.
Projects fall into one of five categories. People are working on strategies for sharing administrative data between agencies and using that data to: 1) mitigate the impact of bail, 2) reduce recidivism, 3) develop better programs for those with mental health and substance use disorders, 4) identify super-utilizers, and 5) engage in more effective planning and coordination among criminal justice and other social service agencies.
Building on the GovLab’s experience with online learning, every project team receives rigorous coaching and personalized feedback designed to help them define the problem they are trying to solve. Up-front diagnosis of impediments to implementation allows the coaches to make introductions to appropriate experts. Finally, frequent opportunities to present their work all are intended to help these public entrepreneurs— passionate and innovative people who wish to take advantage of new technology like big data to do good in the world—to advance their projects.
The participants, who will meet in large and small groups over the course of the summer to workshop their projects, are primarily mid-career professionals who hold management and leadership roles in federal, state and local government agencies as well as nonprofits and who are in a position to make change happen in their communities. Success will be measured, not by the number of people in the program, but by the eventual impact on the lives these admirable public servants are trying to improve.

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We Want to Hear from You: What Is the Value of Open Data for Developing Economies?

Recent years have witnessed considerable speculation about the potential of open data to bring about wide-scale transformation. The bulk of existing evidence about the impact of open data, however, focuses on high-income countries. Much less is known about open data’s role and value in low- and middle-income countries, and more generally about its possible contributions to economic and social development. The field lacks a coherent Theory of Change for how and in what contexts open data supports or hampers development.
Today, the GovLab launches a new project – commissioned by the Mobile Solutions, Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) program funded by the Global Development Lab at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the Web Foundation – that seeks to build an evidence base on open data for developing economies by identifying:

  • The conditions under which open data is most (and least) effective in the development process;
  • Strategies to maximize the positive contributions of open data to development; and
  • Means for limiting open data’s harm on developing countries.

To tap into the expertise of the global open data field and to be inclusive of different views on the subject we are calling upon the community to share evidence and suggestions for possible case studies.
In particular, we’d like to hear about:

  • Existing research on open data in developing economies (which we will add to the Open Government Research Exchange at ogrx.org);
  • Impactful releases and use-cases of open data across various objectives and sectors;

By being inclusive and collaborative, we hope to develop actions, deliverables, and resources that can support the field-at-large, including:

  • Taking stock of current findings investigating the value of open data in low and middle-income contexts by carrying out a landscaping that examines existing research;
  • Developing a collection of  in-depth, illustrative and detailed case studies to better understand how developing countries are responding to public demand (if at all)  to open their data, who is making use of that data and for what, and what impact it is having in several key domains. These case studies will be built with close attention to contextual conditions and in particular the effects of varying geographies, sectors, and types of users or data. Particular emphasis will be placed on identifying and reviewing strategies that may be replicable in different contexts.

Initial findings and recommendations will be shared at the International Open Data Conference on October 6 and 7, 2016 in Madrid.
For more information on the Open Data for Developing Economies project, or if you have suggestions and recommendations for research and case studies to be included in our analysis please contact Stefaan Verhulst, the GovLab’s Chief Research and Development Officer (stefaan@thegovlab.org) or tweet @thegovlab #opendata.
Discuss Open Data for Developing Economies on Network of Innovators.

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Just released: Mapping and Comparing Responsible Data Approaches

Recent years have witnessed something of a sea-change in the way humanitarian organizations consider and use data. Growing awareness of the potential of data has led to new enthusiasm and new, innovative applications that seek to respond to and mitigate crises in fresh ways. At the same time, it has become apparent that the potential benefits are accompanied by risks. A new framework is needed that can help balance the benefits and risks, and that can aid humanitarian organizations and others (e.g., policymakers) develop a more responsible approach to data collection and use in their efforts to combat natural and man-made crises around the world.  In May we released together with UNOCHA , Leiden University and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a think-piece to inform the World Humanitarian Summit on the need for such a framework to build “data responsibility into humanitarian action”.
Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.31.58 AMThe report we are releasing today, “Mapping and Comparing Responsible Data Approaches”, attempts to guide the first steps toward such a framework by learning from current approaches and principles. It is the outcome of a joint research project commissioned by UNOCHA and conducted in collaboration between the GovLab at NYU and Leiden University. In an effort to better understand the landscape, we have considered existing data use policies and principles from 17 organizations. These include 7 UN agencies, 7 International Organizations, 2 government agencies and 1 research institute. Our study of these organizations’ policies allowed us to extract a number of key takeaways that, together, amount to something like a roadmap for responsible data use for any humanitarian organization considering using data in new ways.
We began our research by closely mapping the existing responsible data use policies. To do this, we developed a template with eight broad themes that determines the key ingredients of responsible data framework. This use of a consistent template across organizations permits us to study and compare the 17 data use policies in a structured and systematic manner. Based on this template, we were able to extract 7 key takeaways for what works best when using data in a humanitarian context – presented in the conclusion to the paper being released today. They are designed to be broad enough to be broadly applicable, yet specific enough to be operational and actually usable.
We are mindful that the research being presented here represents only an initial step toward better understanding the use of data in humanitarian contexts and that there are other approaches one can learn from. As much as our specific findings, we are also hopeful that the paper and our methodology can serve to further a necessary conversation around some of the important issues confronting humanitarian organizations, policymakers, and anyone else involved in humanitarian action. We welcome your comments and suggestions, which you can share below or by sending us an email (stefaan at thegovlab.org).
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