Model & Strategy

Nearly every public institution or resource in the United States—our schools, our hospitals, our water supply—is accountable to a watchdog system. But there are few ways to gauge and compare how local criminal justice systems perform basic legal services. Counties don’t know what data to collect, or what the right measures are, let alone what specific areas need to improve.

Measures for Justice (MFJ), as a neutral third party, has built a way to identify and correct systemic problems in criminal justice systems across the country. It aims to fill a major gap: the lack of a national infrastructure for comparative measurement in criminal justice. MFJ has partnered with the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Together they will create a foundational tool based on the premise that public policy decision-making requires good data, a comprehensive base of information, and knowledge. No system can improve without law and policy makers knowing what exactly is going wrong. Simply put: No data, no change.

At a Glance
Founded: 2011
Social Justice
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast, West Coast, Midwest
Measures for Justice
60 Park Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
Measuring justice, one county at a time.
Meet Amy Bach

Amy Bach founded Measures for Justice in April 2011 to address problems she researched for her book, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, which won the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and other acclaim (see www.ordinaryinjustice.com). A graduate of Stanford Law School and member of the New York Bar, Bach began to research the book in 2001 and was quickly struck by widespread patterns of errors, invisible to the very people who work with these problems every day. Bach decided she had to do more than just write about the myriad injustices she witnessed, and launched Measures for Justice. Echoing Green selected her as a 2011 Fellow out of 3,000 candidates worldwide. Bach was previously a Knight Foundation Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, a Soros Justice Fellow, and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She has taught criminal law at SUNY Buffalo Law School as a visiting professor. She lives in Rochester, NY.

IMPACT

By creating an array of measures, MFJ will gauge performance in the areas that victims, defendants, legal professionals, and community members care most about: public safety, equality & fairness, and fiscal responsibility.

 

After successfully piloting data aggregation and analysis work in Wisconsin and developing a robust set of measures, MFJ is currently aggregating data in over 300 counties across 5 additional states (UT, PA, FL, WA, NC) and building out the technology interface.

  • RT @gipsy_escobar: "Bach is a disarming and seriously smart lawyer" Yup, that's my boss, the visionary behind @MforJ https://t.co/p8rKO24wfe
  • Our Assistant Director of Data Outreach Caroline Sarnoff is speaking @houstoninst conference @Harvard_Law today! https://t.co/3h2uAoqaeO
  • RT @publicsafety: Incarceration is growing in rural U.S. @MforJ explains why this matters via @WIRED: https://t.co/ivJsJwrOkW
  • RT @gipsy_escobar: Coverage of our work @MforJ continues. New criminal justice data initiative improves transparency at local level https:/…
  • Measuring progress in #cjreform — Defender Association of Philadelphia's Keir Bradford-Grey talks w/ @TheCrimeReport https://t.co/BZ9gerNCD6
  • RT @Sentinel_Vaughn: Thank you @MforJ and @JohnJayCollege great 2 days learning about CJ data and data story telling
  • RT @newsjunkyjimmy: i've been @JohnJayCollege learning about the new @MforJ data portal - great resource with more states to come! https://…
  • Thanks @JohnJayCollege & all participants for your voices today — researchers, district attorneys, defenders & journalists. #NoDataNoChange
  • Journalist says many don't have thousands to spend on data requests, but still love shoe-leather reporting. They need data they can trust.
  • Problems of #criminaljustice journalism around race: readers of crime stories hungry to know the race of the offender & victim. 2/2
  • Journalists in audience are talking problems of race & #criminaljustice. For example, need for more minority journalists. 1/2
  • Bach: In case of schools data, parents demanded it. But #criminaljustice has lacked that kind of constituency rallying to get it. 2/2
  • Amy Bach: We need to look at why there hasn't been organized #criminaljustice data available in this country. 1/2
  • Our last session today is wrapup Q&A with Amy Bach and @gipsy_escobar of @MforJ, Defender Keir Bradford-Gray, Wisc. DA Christian Gossett
  • RT @RachelSottile: Great pretrial conversations happening in partnership w/ @MforJ, @Pretrial, & Winnebago Co., WI DA Christian Gossett. Bo…
  • "Prosecutors by & large like this data," chimes in DA Christian Gossett. "It’s not gotcha data." Prosecutors want to know abt disparities
  • DA Rawlins: "@MforJ tells me what’s happening & I want to get to the why. Then maybe we can start to break down some of the systemic biases"
  • Keir Bradford-Gray says after seeing @MforJ data illuminate Philly cases, was able to provide more social services to the misdemeanor cases.