Next steps:

  1. Sign up for a lab meeting to continue work on the JUSTFAIR and Police Accountability Toolkit research projects.
  2. Submit a poster for the SQuARED Justice Conference.
  3. Register to attend the SQuARED Justice Conference!
  4. Fill out the feedback form.
6:00 pm, Friday, october 22 – 5:00 pm, Sunday, October 24, 2021 (VIRTUAL EVENT)

Our inaugural weekend-long Datathon4Justice Workshop Fall of 2021 brought together multiple teams of seasoned and emerging data scientists, social scientists, and activists to work on a pre-scrubbed dataset to ask compelling questions, analyze data, and begin to use data to address real-world injustice, affect policy, and sway public opinion. The workshop focused on the application of collective knowledge and analysis to a real-world criminal justice dataset, and leaving with both new data science social justice skills and an enhanced understanding of how to work in interdisciplinary teams on real-world social justice problems.

Working hours for Datathon4Justice (all times are ET US):


Friday, October 22

  • 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Welcome, introductions, and opening plenary
    • Opening plenary, Bilal Ansari, AVP for Campus Engagement, Office of DEI, Williams College.
    • Opening plenary, Veronica Ciocanel, Assistant Professor of Math and Biology, Duke University.
  • 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Initial team meetings, defining research questions, explaining work processes, and creating/forming working teams
  • Outputs: Please post your research question(s) in the Slack channel

Saturday, October 23

  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Plenary talk, Anthony Powers, Reentry Program Director, Seattle Clemency Project.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Research team work
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Break, optional lunch meeting to confer with members of other teams.
  • 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Research team work
  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Report out from each team on their progress, approximately 10 minutes each.
  • Outputs: Please update the Slack channel with major outputs from your day.

Sunday, October 24

  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Welcome, final plenary
    • Opening plenary, Hinal Jajal, Applied Math Student at UCLA
    • Opening plenary, Molly Coleman, Co-founder and first Executive Director, People’s Parity Project
  • 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m: Research team work
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Break, optional lunch meeting to confer with members of other teams.
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Research team work, prepare for final report out.
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m: Final report out and closing remarks.

Goals of the Datathon4Justice

The Datathon4Justice is a weekend-long commitment where students, professional researchers, and activists will come together in small teams to collaboratively examine a dataset. The goals are to share expertise, learn from one another, apply collective knowledge and analysis to a real-world criminal justice dataset, and leave with both new data science social justice skills and an enhanced understanding of how to work in interdisciplinary teams on real-world social justice problems.

Team Composition

Individuals of a broad range of skill levels and disciplinary interests are encouraged to participate. Teams will be mixed, to the greatest degree possible, of data scientists/statisticians/mathematicians, social scientists, humanists, and activists who are at varying levels of their research journeys.

Major Deadlines

  • October 8th, 2021: Registration Closes
  • October 22 – 24: Datathon4Justice (online/virtual event)


The theme for the 2021 Datathon4Justice is criminal justice. We have identified two datasets for the Datathon4Justice, which we’ll describe below.

Williamstown, MA Police Reports

Williamstown is a small town of just under 8000 residents in western Massachusetts. The Police Department in Williamstown, MA has been accused of a series of ethical violations, including sexual harassment, racial harassment of citizens and employees, and having a Hitler poster displayed in the staff room of the precinct for several years. QSIDE has obtained all of the police records for several years. Teams working with this dataset will look for any patterns or findings that indicate if and to what extent these biased behaviors were manifest in policing practices.

JUSTFAIR: Minnesota

The JUdicial System Transparency for Fairness through Archived/Inferred Records (JUSTFAIR) project initially brought together all records for federal courts to identify which judges were sentencing in the most biased ways based on race/ethnicity on the federal bench. The JUSTFAIR project is now moving into all 50 states, and we have secured and cleaned all of the data for the state of Minnesota. Teams working with these data will ask and answer questions about the equitable sentencing of defendants in the state of Minnesota.

Speaker Bios

Bilal Ansari, Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Williams College

Bilal has dedicated the past three decades of his work to challenging systems of racial, gender, and religious inequalities as a chaplain in federal and state prisons, community organizer, activist, advisor at various colleges, and educator. In 2013 Bilal was awarded the Connecticut Center for a New Economy’s Outstanding Leadership Award for fifteen years of community activism and organizing that improved the economic and social well-being of working families in urban centers and rural communities by raising wages of the working poor, improving public education and training, securing public health care, and creating affordable housing. Bilal was awarded the PeaceMaker Award of 2021 for his 10 years of community organizing in Northern Berkshires in racial justice and police reform work. Bilal is Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Williams College.

Veronica Ciocanel, Assistant Professor of Math and Biology, Duke University.

Dr. Veronica Ciocanel received her B.S. in Mathematics from Duke University and her M.S. and PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University. Dr. Ciocanel has completed her postdoctoral training at the Mathematical Biosciences Institute at The Ohio State University, where she held a President’s Postdoctoral Scholar fellowship. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Mathematics, with a joint appointment in
Biology, at Duke University. She also serves as the Chair of the Cell and Developmental Biology subgroup of the Society of Mathematical Biology. She studies cell biology questions using dynamical systems, and more recently has been involved in research collaborations on analyzing and improving transparency of federal sentence disparities data.

Anthony Powers, Reentry Program Director, Seattle Clemency Project

At the young age of 16, Anthony was convicted of murder and sentenced to 77 years in prison without the possibility of parole. With assistance from Seattle Clemency Project pro bono counsel, at 42 years old, Anthony was granted early release in 2019.  Anthony is an exceptional individual and was known as a leader and role model in prison. While incarcerated, he co-founded a successful behavior health program called the Redemption Project and was a facilitator for Roots to Success, a program that worked to lower recidivism. Since his release, Anthony has been very busy contributing to the community. He and Karlton Daniel, co-founder of the Redemption Project, have designed and lead Seattle Clemency Project’s Reentry and Mentoring Program.  He has also been a speaker at the University of Washington’s Law Societies and Justice program and serves as a mentor for East African youth in Seattle. Anthony has fully embraced his own personal journey and transition back into the community and appreciates the support his wife, friends and family provide.  Anthony is passionate about sharing his life experience to support people who are reentering the community.

Hinal Jaja, UCLA Student and JUSTFAIR Researcher

Hinal is a junior at UCLA studying Applied Mathematics with a Specialization in Computing. She’s passionate about the intersection of data science and criminal justice. Currently, she’s working with Dr. Phil Chodrow in the Department of Mathematics at UCLA to analyze disparities in Virginia’s criminal sentencing records. Outside class, she’s involved in activities relating to mentorship and pedagogy, data journalism, and combating period poverty. She spent her summer interning at Swiss Re and is currently interning at AcuityMD. In her free time, she likes to cook and lift weights.

Molly Coleman, co-founder and first Executive Director of People’s Parity Project (PPP)

Molly Coleman is a co-founder of PPP and the organization’s first Executive Director. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she worked for a number of legal organizations committed to advancing justice for the most marginalized, including Gender Justice, Legal Voice, the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, the Hennepin County Public Defenders Office, and the Fair Labor Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office; she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Prior to law school, Molly spent three years with City Year New York, working to close the opportunity gap for students in Harlem and the Bronx and to empower young people to become civically engaged leaders. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota.