Our Process

What we're doing

Right now

We're cataloguing sources of criminal legal system data in a database/library/index. As our archive grows over time, we can empower larger and more exciting analysis projects with the data we've collected.

In the future

Defining Public Records Accessibility

Where are we focused first?

Because most data is consumed by local users—and because context is everything—we're focusing on helping people access as much information about their local municipality, county, or state as possible.

What are public records?

Some information is required by law to be public. Governments keep several types of public records, and make them available to different degrees—sometimes on a web page, sometimes behind a "records request" process like the Freedom of Information or Right to Know requests. Our goal is to track these Data Sources in one place, and work to make each of them as accessible as possible.

Degrees of access for public records

  1. 1.
    The source should exist, but we have no known path to access it.
  2. 2.
    Someone has previously made an extraction or records request for this source, and we have their contact information.
  3. 3.
    We have custody of an archive or can point to direct access.
  4. 4.
    There are several known archives of the source.

Phases of accessibility in each state

  1. 1.
    Collect information about agencies and public data laws for each state in the U.S.
  2. 2.
    Collect required data about every criminal legal system agency in the state, so people can see which agencies are relevant for any location.
    • Location
    • Jurisdiction
    • Parent / child relationships between agencies
  3. 3.
    Collect metadata about available Data Sources for each agency, so people can find information about any agency.
    • Type of records available
    • How to access the data
  4. 4.
    Publish tools to normalize and combine local data from different Agencies and States.