Criminal Justice

Impacts of California Proposition 47 on Crime In Santa Monica (2020)

Proposition 47 was a 2014 initiative that reclassified some non-violent felonies to misdemeanors. Using a publicly-available database compiled and maintained by the Santa Monica Police Department, we investigated whether the passage of Proposition 47 in the state of California had any impact on criminal activity, specifically crimes that were reclassified. We also study how the 2016 opening of four new light rail stations, and how more community-based policing starting in late 2018, impacted crime. Read more here

Analysis of Pre-Trial Hearings in Berkshire County Massachusetts (2019)

Courtwatching is a citizen-based data collection and accountability process. Everyday people volunteer their time to observe hearings, to record data on defendants, prosecutors, and judges, and to use that data to promote prosecutor accountability.
QSIDE volunteered for courtwatch programs to collect data, analyzing 300 hearings held in the Great Barrington Court in the Southern Berkshires. Read more here

JUSTFAIR: JUdicial System Transparency for Fairness through Archived/Inferred Records

 JUSTFAIR: Judicial System Transparency through Federal Archive Inferred Records, a database of criminal sentencing decisions made in federal district courts. We have compiled this data set from public sources including the United States Sentencing Commission, the Federal Judicial Center, the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, and Wikipedia. With over 570,000 records from the years 2001 – 2018, JUSTFAIR is the first large scale, free, public database that links information about defendants and their demographic characteristics with information about their federal crimes, their sentences, and, crucially, the identity of the sentencing judge. Read more here

New York City Jails: COVID Discharge Policy, Data Transparency, and Reform

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the release of New York City jail inmates who were at high risk of contracting the disease and at low risk of committing criminal reoffense. Using public information, we construct and analyze a database of nearly 350,000 incarceration episodes in the city jail system from 2014 – 2020. Because our results are only as accurate as New York City’s public-facing jail data, we discuss numerous challenges with this data and suggest improvements. These improvements would address issues including inmate age, gender, and race. Finally, we discuss policy implications of our work, highlight some opportunities and challenges posed by incarceration caps, and suggest key areas for reform. Read more here

Racial Disparities in Criminal Sentencing Vary Considerably across Federal Judges (2021)

Studying 380,000 criminal cases in federal district courts from 2006 to 2019, we replicate previous findings that aggregate, conditional racial disparities in sentence lengths are large. We further show that estimated racial disparities in sentencing vary considerably across judges. Read more here.

Bias in Policing in Puerto Rico (2021)

QSIDE partnered with the Puerto Rico Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PRACDL) in 2021 to clean and analyze raw data on Policing in Puerto Rico. The statistical data analysis portion of this criminal justice project that QSIDE worked on was part of the amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Read more here.

Work In Progress
  • Equity and sentencing habits of federal judges (2020, expected)