New criminal justice data tool launched in East Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new tool allowing you to track what’s going on in the criminal justice system has officially launched in East Baton Rouge. It’s aiming to increase trust and engagement with the District Attorney’s office.
It’s called Commons. It’s a web system created by the non-profit Measures of Justice along with the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office. It shows trends in cases to help improve transparency and accountability.
“Where do we have areas we need to strengthen and improve, how do we become more transparent as we look at this data, where are gaps in areas we need to address,” said Dianna Payton.
That’s Dianna Payton. As the CEO of YWCA Greater Baton Rouge, she is one of the community leaders who serves on the DA’s Community Advisory Board. The Board helped design the website and Payton said they analyze the data to see where improvements can be made like, “access to the pretrial diversion services that are available and what are some of the challenges that’s preventing them from actually accessing the pretrial services.”
The Pretrial Diversion Program gives some offenders a chance to have their charges resolved after completing conditions and paying fines. In an effort to make the program more accessible, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore has set a goal to help increase its use. The DA said right now his office sends 7% of cases to a pretrial diversion program. Their goal is to grow that to 8% or higher by the end of the year.
Payton believes the launch of the data tool is the first step in offering solutions to criminal justice reform.
“We have to be open, honest and transparent,” said Payton. “It’s the only way to bring our city together to bring our community together and actually make a change in and address and strengthen our criminal justice system.”
Payton said the board plans on hosting a launch event next month to show people the tool and how it works, but you can access it for free at anytime on the Common’s website.
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