Request for Partnerships
Overview

We invite mayors, police chiefs, district attorneys, and others to partner with the Stanford Computational Policy Lab (SCPL) to achieve impactful, data-driven criminal justice reform. Partners will work with Stanford faculty and a pool of experienced SCPL data scientists and software engineers to implement technologically supported interventions.

To facilitate these collaborations, we are offering seed grants of up to $100k to support coordination between government agencies, community groups, and SCPL staff. These grants are intended to drive substantial change in the administration of criminal justice — particularly amid recent calls to dramatically restructure policing and the criminal justice system more broadly.

We seek partnerships to achieve meaningful reforms in two main areas:

  1. Policing. We seek to support data-driven strategies to reduce adverse police contact with the public. Examples include designing and deploying statistical tools to identify high-risk officers, reduce pretextual traffic and pedestrian stops, guide law-enforcement assisted diversion, and route select 911 calls to appropriate social services in lieu of law enforcement.
  2. Prosecution. We seek to support data-driven strategies to reduce incarceration and traditional prosecution in favor of alternative pathways to justice. Examples include designing and deploying statistical tools to encourage dismissals for low-level offenses, mitigate racial bias in charging decisions, facilitate diversion to restorative justice and rehabilitation programs, and reduce pretrial custody.

We are currently focusing on police and prosecutorial reform, but we welcome and will consider all proposals broadly related to data-driven criminal justice reform, including from public defenders, social service agencies, and community-based organizations.

Our past work demonstrates the types of projects we are interested in supporting with these grants. For example, our lab has partnered with:

  • Police departments to draft new policies that reduce racial disparities in traffic stops;
  • District attorneys to algorithmically redact race-related information from incident reports, allowing prosecutors to make race-blind charging decisions;
  • Corrections agencies to build a dashboard that facilitates public understanding of pretrial incarceration; and
  • Public defenders and community-based organizations to send automated text message court date reminders that help support appearance in court.

We will work closely with potentially interested partners to help identify, design and implement data-driven interventions for reform. We will select partners and projects that are likely to lead to significant, measurable improvements in the policing and prosecution outcomes described above within 12-24 months. At a minimum, this requires clear commitment from agency leadership and other stakeholders (e.g., community activists). We will also prioritize projects that would not be possible without SCPL-specific expertise in technological approaches to criminal justice reform.

Agency leadership should be prepared to participate in preliminary discussions with SCPL to define projects that are likely to meet shared goals. If selected for partnership, agency leadership should also be prepared to attend regular calls with our team throughout the grant period, and to appoint a senior member of their executive staff as a project liaison. Successful projects must have a clearly articulated theory of change, such as how the proposed efforts will reduce police misconduct rates or reduce pretrial incarceration. The most impactful projects will be accompanied by wider changes to policy and practice in order to achieve meaningful reform.

In addition to the above, partner jurisdictions will need information technology infrastructure that is sufficiently mature to support technological interventions. This includes database access to all relevant information. For example, candidate police departments seeking to reduce misconduct should have existing databases that track personnel information and instances of historical misconduct; and candidate district attorneys seeking to reduce bias in charging decisions should have existing databases that store incident reports and case files.

In contrast to traditional grant applications, we plan to work closely with interested individuals to identify and support effective strategies for data-driven reform. To do so, we will arrange a series of group and one-on-one meetings with potential partners to discuss pathways to impact. At the end of this collaborative process, we will select partners and projects with the greatest promise for substantial reform.

Potential partners are asked to enroll in an informational webinar on August 13 or 19. In the meantime, questions should be directed to Alex Chohlas-Wood, executive director of SCPL, at alexcw@stanford.edu.

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