Equity Hackathon Explores and Promotes the Concept of Justice Reinvestment

Collage illustrating communication between police and community, photo by freshidea/Adobe Stock

freshidea/Adobe Stock

Hacking Equity 2022: Reframing "Defund the Police" to Achieve Policy Goals

“Defund the police!” started as a rallying cry after several high-profile killings of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement, but it soon became a point of contention across the country. The left used it as shorthand for police reforms large and small. The right saw it as a signal that left-leaning activists had gone too far.

“Justice reinvestment” is a more neutral and accurate framing, but what it means is still evolving. At its foundation, justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to reducing spending on corrections and reinvesting the identified savings in evidence-based strategies designed to increase public safety and hold offenders accountable. There are a number of efforts at the state, local, and tribal levels focused on making the criminal justice system more equitable and effective using a justice reinvestment approach, but more work is needed.

Here are the key questions for this hackathon challenge: What is justice reinvestment? What does it entail, what efforts are ongoing, what data exists to inform these efforts, and what is missing?

Hackathon teams will do the following:

  • Conduct a review (either narrow or broad) of recent or ongoing justice reinvestment efforts and the data that drives the development of policies and evidence-based strategies.
  • Identify what may be missing, either from a policy or data standpoint.
  • Develop a narrative describing the language of justice reinvestment and how is it framed and communicated both within the field and to non-experts, and offer suggested alternatives.

This fast-moving event will take place in the last week of October 2022, with final presentations scheduled for November 2. Given the timeline, broad prompt topic, and time zone differences, teams will need to act quickly to identify their approach and delegate tasks. Collaboration will take place on Zoom or other online platforms as appropriate.

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