Gavel Grab

Proposal Aired for 'Justice Index'

Why not statistically assess our local criminal courts much as we do for hospitals and schools?

In a New York Times commentary, Amy Bach makes that suggestion, calling for a “justice index” to show how the key features of our local courts are working, or not. When the public doesn’t know the strengths and weaknesses of the courts, she contends, there is no way to fix inefficiencies or violations of civil liberties.

Bach explains the core of the idea this way:

“The index, compiled according to national standards, would function roughly like college rankings, evaluating county courts on factors like cost, recidivism, crime reduction and collateral consequences, including whether people lose their jobs or homes after contact with the criminal justice system.”

Her column explains a possible way to set up such an index, starting with collecting data from the 25 largest counties around the U.S., and with analysis of the data by a non-profit organization. She concludes:

“Rankings for hospitals and public schools create healthy competition. To get the justice we deserve, we would do well to bring a similar approach to bear on our criminal courts.”

No comments

No comments yet. Be the first.

Leave a reply