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Former Google Manager Using Big Data to Reform Prison




Former Google manager Clementine Jacoby founded Recidiviz to help prisons use big data to reduce imprisonment rates. Jacoby has been obsessed with the prison system for life after seeing his uncle imprisoned at the age of five. Activists are worried that Recidiviz’s big data approach may only help improve prison efficiency.

Clementine Jacoby, founder of Recidiviz, a technology-focused criminal law reform startup, first came into contact with the prison system at the age of five. Her uncle was convicted of a nonviolent crime at the age of 19. “He could hardly be tried as an adult,” she says. When he was finally released about 10 years later, he had a great deal of difficulty finding a job or a place to live. Jacoby says the case left a deep trace and lifelong interest in investigating social inequality, especially within the prison system. “Keeping out of jail is very complicated to do in this country.”

This passion eventually led her to study the combination of computer and cognitive science at Stanford University, “promoting behavioral change on a large scale,” she says. After graduating from college, she volunteered for six months in a Brazilian gang conversion program, eventually working as a product manager at Google, like many other Stanford graduates. “Google always presupposes good intentions and emphasizes trusting generalists with many responsibilities,” says Jacoby.

In early 2017, Jacoby, who worked outside business hours with a small budget and technician volunteer staff, launched Recidiviz. They wanted their combined skills to help revolutionize the prison system where mainframes got stuck in the 1980s. The mission of the nonprofit was to obtain prison and parole data from each state and create easy-to-read, digestible visualizations that would allow the state to determine who should be released early. Those who are at risk of COVID. Those who are eligible to relax the parole supervision based on release performance etc.

Between the fragmented data and the parole (PO) juggling more than 100 cases at a time at low wages, the eligibility and general needs of those involved in the system have slipped. “We want to make it easier to understand the needs of PO,” says Recidiviz engineer Nikhil Bhargava. Bhargava says Recidiviz also helps parolees find the number of parolees who are having a hard time continuing to work. “You might say that this 10% of people on your case road are bouncing around and having employment problems, so here’s a parole-friendly employer in your district.” This is Recidiviz. It’s just one example of how to enclose various data in the state. Reformat the facility into a unified, easy-to-use dashboard, from the number of residents and age breakdown to the number of individuals on parole and their performance reports. Goals use power policy makers, parole officers, DOCs, and then dashboards to easily identify individuals eligible for early release or less overseen parole.

In 2018, Jacoby officially quit his job at Google, founded Recidiviz as a non-profit organization, and persuaded developers from Apple, Dropbox, and Facebook to join her. “People with technical skills want to tackle important issues,” she said. Her team reflects these sentiments by emphasizing how Recidiviz connects data analytics with social benefits. Regarding the transition from Metromile, engineer Justin Kuntz said, ” [her] Time and skills at the company whose primary goal is to radically change people’s lives. “

According to David Krabbenhoft, director of correction and rehabilitation in North Dakota, Recividiz appears to be functioning and allows NDDOCR to “shift.” [their] Focusing on positive results from recidivism, [like] Their tools have been adopted in 34 states, and the COVID tools have specially released 36,000 individuals during a pandemic. The organization also receives bipartisan support from the Charles Koch Institute to the Ford Foundation and the Galaxy Gibbs. And their policy impact modeling work supports both left-handed and right-handed supporters for prosperity and criminal rights from ACLU and REFORM to Americans.

However, not everyone is convinced of the innovative potential of Recidiviz. According to Richie Reseda, founder of the prison reform organization Success Stories, Recidiviz’s approach to reforming the corrections bureau’s data mainframe prioritizes the wrong people. “We are not trying to build a more efficient system of imprisonment and supervision. If it does not change the nature of the institution, it is completely separated,” says Reseda.

Similarly, engineer Dominique Harrison, technical policy director at the Joint Center for Political Economy Research, a Washington, DC think tank, thinks Recidiviz is generally a good thing, but is concerned about the group’s data. I am saying. Work from is constrained by the notion of outdated crime. “The problem is that the data [that Recidiviz is working with] Based on action [like] Allegedly arrested as a racist, “she says. Still, it can perpetuate discriminatory decisions.

Jacoby recognizes that many big tech donors and former employees who have not traditionally been involved in prison reform have led to criticism. But she emphasized that Recidiviz prioritizes listening to stakeholders. “We are sitting behind the parole car [and] Visit the house by car with them. We see them entering data after visiting the house and see what’s difficult about it. You can see how they spend their days, where they pay attention, and how they interact with their bosses. And finally, we’re trying to find a way to make the whole system work better. “

Jacoby said that this skepticism about Recidiviz’s data-centric approach is “explaining how much of her work is moving away from some of these more harmful interventions” and is general about technology. It states that it means that skepticism is justified. “Technology to make people affected by institutions, communities, and the criminal justice system feel ownership,” she adds. We hope that the system will continue to challenge its way of operation and that Recidiviz can play an integral role in that change.




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