New York City has today announced a new partnership with Code for America (CfA), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping governments become more connected, to bring real-time information to courtrooms and help the NYC Criminal Justice Commission in developing methods of data driven decision-making.

Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 1.54.03 PM New York partners with Code for America to help fix the criminal justice systemContrasting with last year’s decision to not partner with the non-profit, NYC has lately been pushing for open data and overall tech advancements more than ever before, including programs like the City’s comprehensive digital roadmap and the conversion of payphones into WiFi hotspots. Manhattan even recently received a new $4.2M cyber crime lab, because “the Internet is the crime scene of the 21st century.”

As NYConvergence reports, NY’s partnership with CfA is one of many, but it’s interesting to see that NY’s emphasis is on the courtroom. According to John Feinblatt, Chief Policy Advisor to NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the overal goal of this partnership is to enhance local efforts in pre-trial justice reform:

New York City has long been at the forefront of using data and technology to direct public resources more effectively and deliver services more efficiently. We are proud to partner with Code for America and the Arnold Foundation to announce the next chapter in this effort – a new project to bring new reliable real-time information to our courtrooms to help ensure judgments are well-informed and justice is swift.

As far as what the CfA fellows will actually be doing, CfA’s announcement page details its upcoming actions:

Fellows will work with the NYC Criminal Justice Commission to identify opportunities that enhance and improve the quality, consistency, and accuracy of data used to inform policy and assess programmatic outcomes for pre-trial justice reform. The fellows will guide the development of technology tools and interfaces to facilitate data driven decision-making and tracking of defendants in pretrial status, and will increase the knowledge and skills of system personnel and criminal justice agency heads on jail and pretrial-based technological applications.

US government agencies have never been known for being particularly digital-savvy (except for these guys), so it’s impressive to see that NY is pushing for progress in this area. If progress can actually be made, we’ll hopefully see additional partnerships like this in the future, as a streamlined justice system should help cut costs and make NY a safer place.

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