- The White House announced a new “Data-Driven Justice” program Wednesday.
- The program uses data analytics to help reduce the local jail population.
- It will help local law enforcement agencies identify people that are better suited to addiction-treatment programs or mental-health facilities rather than jail.
According to the White House, 11 million people move through local jail systems each year. More than half of those people suffer from either mental illness (64%) or substance abuse (68%). The cost to jail those offenders is estimated at $22 billion annually.
“What we’ve seen, as we’ve engaged state and local leaders across the country, is there are people who simply do not deserve to be in our jails,” Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, told CIOL.
The alliance of 67 city, county, and state governments say they will use analytics to reduce their jail populations by identifying people suffering from mental health or addiction challenges as well as non-violent offenders in jail only because they can’t afford to post bail.
The private sector will play a role in the program as well. Companies including Amazon, Palantir, RapidSOS and RTI are providing technologies to help facilitate the program.
Tech companies have been getting more involved in helping cities use technology to improve the way they operate. In March, Alphabet’s Sidewalks Labs said it would work with the U.S. Department of Transportation on an analytics platform designed to help cities better understand citizens’ patterns of mobility, according to a CIO report. The platform, dubbed Flow, will leverage Alphabet’s Big Data analytics to help cities determine their biggest traffic challenges and help city planners design better transportation infrastructure.