Measuring Prison Overcrowding in California

January 07, 2018

How does the state of California measure prison overcrowding? It looks at the total number of people in its prisons and compares it to the combined capacity of its 35 state prisons - the Supreme Court ordered California to decrease its prison population to 137.5% of the system's designed capacity. Yet 15 out of the state's 35 prisons have populations exceeding 137.5%. Is that the correct way to measure overcrowding? This post explores why an aggregated measure like this can be misleading, and suggests a few simple alternatives.

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The Understaffing of Public Defender's Offices in CA

December 19, 2017

Public Defender's Offices are extremely understaffed - this post looks specifically at California, and compares the size of the District Attorney's Office vs. the size of the Public Defender's Office in California counties. Despite handling ~80% of serious criminal cases, the median Public Defender's Office in California counties has just 43% the number of employees of the District Attorney's Office.

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Cook County SAO Dispositions - Direct Filing and Narcotics Cases

November 30, 2017

The Cook County State's Attorney's Office released an interesting dataset on how their prosecutors have handled thousands of cases since 2011. It turns out that narcotics cases are initiated differently from all other types of cases - this article explores how "direct filing" leads to a significant number of narcotics cases being dismissed. What would happen if those defendants weren't charged to begin with?

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Introduction to dplyr, using SAO data

November 18, 2017

A technical introduction to the R package dplyr, using disposition data provided by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

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Exploring Police Employee Data

September 24, 2017

Using data provided by the FBI and 18F to see how police forces have grown over time.

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About Me

September 23, 2017

Information about this blog

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Visualizing March Madness

May 04, 2014

Coming up with ways to visualize the trajectory of a basketball game

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