One-line solution summary:
Advancing criminal justice by making the arrest process fair, effective, and humane.
What specific problem are you solving?
In most jurisdictions, a police officer arrests and takes offenders to jail and a criminal complaint is filed before a judge. The judge sets bail, and if necessary, appoints defense counsel for the accused. Inadequate cases are later dropped days, weeks, or months later by prosecutors. This happens only after extensive investigation and usually not before the accused spent unnecessary time in jail. This process effects upwards of 8-10 million annually (disproportionately, effecting Black Americans, and individuals with mental health conditions). Notably, 25%-40% of these cases are dropped, meaning millions are impacted. In 1973, Harris County, Texas addressed this injustice and inefficiency, it's success has gone largely unknown: prosecutors communicate with the police officer at the moment before booking an arrest. The officer explains the circumstances of the arrest, while the prosecutor evaluates if circumstances meet the required elements of the crime. If satisfied, the prosecutor 'vetts' the arrest, and only then does the police officer file. We quantified the efficacy of this unique system, and upgraded it to a cloud-based software that guides the prosecutors and officers through a racially blind decision. We've quantified results comparing dropped cases and found this system will save countless amounts in social justice costs, and save $6-20 million in taxpayer dollars annually.
Pitch your solution.
To address injustices and inefficiencies in the criminal justice arrest process, Justice Innovations has developed Vett-It, an integrative software that layers over county case management systems, and acts as an information intake and communication tool between prosecutors and officers at the scene that enables them to 'vett' the charges before an arrest, instead of waiting days/weeks/months to do the very same thing at trial. Arrests are vetted, declined, or diverted (mental health units or diversion programs). This application will directly address racial biases, unjust arrests, while decreasing jail population and court dockets, saving valuable resources at the county level (police, court, clerks, jail staff's time). Prosecutors & officers have great interest in streamlining cases, unifying data, and weeding out 'bad' cases from the start. The public benefits from knowing every arrest is by the letter of the law, vetted by prosecutors blind to the ID/race of the accused.
Our solution's stage of development:Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
We're at the pilot site selection portion of the pilot, having met with eight district attorney offices located in California, New Mexico, and Texas. All are interested in joining the pilot and we continue to meet with them and answer financial and logistics questions. The pilot will enable us to conduct customer discovery and collect feedback for development, and testimonials to leverage in marketing efforts. Having several pilots crossing state jurisdictions, we can apply lessons learned to build the product for scale, determining the boundaries of customization and ala cart features desired. Data will be used to answer urgent questions about the efficacy, efficiency, RIO, and pricing model. The end users are the prosecutors and police officers, but the entire county (population: 250,000 - 1 millon) will benefit from the implementation of the Justice Innovations Vet-It solution.
Where are you based?Houston, TX, USA
Sasha Davenport, PhD (ABD) Co-founder/CEO, Justice Innovations