Hundreds facilitate Prison Mindfulness Institute’s Path of Freedom curriculum in jails around the world. At the same time, we are working with professionals at all stages of the process (lawyers, judges, police, corrections officers etc.) to create a more compassionate justice system through mindfulness. Scientific research has fueled the rapid growth and mainstreaming of mindfulness. Could social scientists fueled by big tech and millions of dollars of Silicon Valley philanthropy provide complementary data about the role of mindfulness in systems change?
As part of their annual student editorial contest, the New York Times published an article by a 16 year old girl arguing that Germany’s significantly lower recidivism rates offer lessons to the United States. Even young people look to data for answers. According to her, “While German correctional officers emphasize humanizing their inmates, American correctional officers’ tactics lean toward denigrating.”
Recent articles from Wired and the Orlando Sentinel report on an initiative to increase accountability in the justice systems starting with six states with plans to expand to twenty states by 2020. Why shouldn’t we have rating tools, advocates argue, comparable to those available for schools and water quality?
The Project on Accountable Justice states that “Recent national discussions on accountability in criminal justice tend to focus on policing in particular…[However,] the prison system does not decide who goes to prison; our local court systems do, while following laws prescribed by our state Legislature… Measurements like how many fatal shootings or the use of stop-and-frisk arrests are a growing expectation of the public. But what about other areas of our criminal-justice system, like our courts, jails and prisons? Beyond traditional counts like docket numbers or prison populations, do we know what that performance should look like? How would we measure success?”
A nonprofit called Measures for Justice is releasing data on each stage of the process:
According to Wired, “the comprehensiveness of the platform surpasses anything similar that currently exists.” The video below describes how their approach could be applied:
The Project on Accountable Justice summarizes their goals: “For far too long, our criminal-justice systems have not fully benefited from vigorous, data-driven scrutiny— and yet, our expectations of performance are increasing. The Measures for Justice are intended to empower all stakeholders — including the public — to identify and make changes that can be measured as success in criminal justice.”