One-line solution summary:
Point of arrest technology for police to divert low-level offenders from the criminal justice system to social services.
What specific problem are you solving?
The U.S. criminal justice system is overwhelmed: backlogged courts, 2.3 million imprisoned, 4.5 million under community supervision -- cities, counties, and states going broke trying to manage this glut. In Los Angeles, taxpayers spend $1 billion to supervise just 60,000 probationers. With recidivism rates soaring above 60% and re-incarceration costing $50,000 per prisoner per year, attention is focusing where this torrent begins: the point of arrest. In Los Angeles, over 1 million encounters in 2019 between police and citizens resulted in 300,000 arrests with 100,000 ending up in jail -- most of them people of color despite African-Americans comprising just 8% of the population. The Brennan Center’s research on arrest, incarceration and probation found that justice-involvement often resulted in unemployment, poverty, and houselessness, leading to re-offending and re-incarceration. It’s a never-ending cycle that impacts the offender -- and burdens society with additional costs in social services and public safety.
Police and communities need a tool at the point of arrest that provides a humane alternative to the long-term calamity of clogged courts, criminalizing prison conditions, and frustrating re-entry processes -- which will lower anti-police tension in at-risk communities and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Pitch your solution.
Our solution uses SPROKIT gamified technology at point of arrest to redirect non-violent, low-level offenders to treatment or community service. Officers in lieu of arrest offer offenders the option to upload the SPROKIT app containing pre-loaded tasks. Tasks are incentivized by rewards. When all tasks are completed on time, participants avoid further justice-involvement. If participants fail, they are subject to traditional prosecution.
SPROKIT’s humane technology de-escalates tension in communities fearful of police. Police and the justice system escape the nuisance and costs of low-level crimes. SPROKIT promotes participant behavioral change and community well-being with restorative justice tasks.
Fewer arrests mean savings for police, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, jails, probation, and social services. Police and criminal courts can focus attention on serious crimes, improving public safety. Taxpayers savings redirected to CBOs, mental health and social services, will revitalize communities. With corporations receiving accolades for providing rewards, it’s a win for everybody.
Our solution's stage of development:Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
SPROKIT has deployed in multiple jurisdictions with over a thousand end-users -- for bail at LA Central Courthouse, for diversion of veterans and offenders with mental illness in SF and Atlanta, behind bars in Iowa and New York, and for re-entry in Oakland -- to name a few. Agencies in LA, SF and Santa Monica are enthusiastic about deploying SPROKIT D-Flekt pilots at the point of arrest -- including police, courts, CBOs, public defenders and prosecutors. Working with coalitions is natural for SPROKIT. In LA, for example, we work with the Alternative to Incarceration Initiative’s Rapid Diversion Program -- a collaboration between courts, probation and Project 180. In SF, we’re involved with police, mental health services, probation and courts. Consensus can be rare in large cities, but we’ve earned multi-stakeholder trust in SPROKIT’s efficacy. With major city endorsement of our solution, we will quickly scale to other jurisdictions.
Where are you based?San Francisco, CA, USA
Joseph Kwong CEO + Co-Founder, SPROKIT