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OpenJustice Data to Improve Public Policy in California

April 13, 2016

As part of National Volunteer Week this month, we are profiling our DataCorps volunteers of projects past, present and future. These volunteers donate a whopping 5-10 hours a week over the course of several months to apply data science techniques that can help advance a social change organization's mission. 

We are just kicking off our collaboration with our OpenJustice DataKind fellows and could not be more excited at the potential. The breadth and depth of the tech experience they bring to our data-driven criminal justice reform initiative is game-changing. Pairing their functional expertise with the content knowledge of our CA Dept of Justice staff will unlock tremendous value for Californians. In an era of tight budgets and rapidly changing technologies, partnerships like these are what will help governments deliver great 21st century services and products.

-Justin Erlich, Special Assistant Attorney General - Advisor on Technology & Data

In a bold commitment to transparency, the California Department of Justice recently launched the OpenJustice initiative, opening select criminal justice data to the public. A team of DataCorps volunteers will be helping them look at this newly released data to understand the impact the criminal justice system has on broader social issues and how it correlates to social factors such as education and mental health. This will ultimately help the California Department of Justice better understand its impact and improve public policy to make California safer.

What inspires this team to give back?

"Not every organization has a data scientist to leverage data for decision making. I joined DataKind to change that."

Nick Gustafson
Nick is a data scientist who enjoys using data to solve business problems. He has a background in computational neuroscience. In his spare time, he likes exploring open data APIs, online classes, rock concerts, and many other things. He's very curious. Meet Nick >


"I believe data is the 21st century microscope which lets us see the unseen. Datakind gives me an opportunity to use this incredible tool for the greater good, which I think is one of the most effective ways of making a positive impact on the world." 

Sravya Tirukkovalur
Sravya is an open source and big data evangelist. She is a software engineer at Cloudera solving security and access policies in Hadoop eco system. She is also the Vice President of the Apache Sentry project. Meet Sravya >


Peter Chapman
is a Senior Manager at Heroku and Dylan Hercher is a Business Intelligence Engineer at General Assembly.