COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Franklin County is the first in the nation teaming up with the U.S. Department of Justice for a new data-focused project.
Titled Justice Counts, the initiative will help mold a new database that the departments is aiming to introduce across the nation. The focus is on analyzing and tracking the justice system in Ohio.
“I think it is just really fitting that we are starting here in Franklin County — we are the largest county in the state, but we also believe that we have been very innovative,” said Franklin County Commissioner Erica Crawley.
Crawley said the goal is to bring in agencies to share information with one another, from the courts to corrections, parole and so forth. The information will be placed into a database that all can access.
“That’s a huge amount of power that the rest of the country can benefit from,” said Katie Mosehauer from the Council of State Governments Justice Center.
Mosehauer said Franklin County will be able to customize the database. It can be used to track what information is being brought in by agencies, what can be improved and what’s going well.
“So you can go to the legislature or a county board and say this program is working we need more funding because we’re funded at a lower level than all of our peers doing the same work with less results so you can use it in those capacities which I think is really, really critical,” Mosehauer said.
Crawley said this is also important for the county in recognizing what resources need to be better utilized.
“Who’s being impacted the most, where can interventions placed and people get access to different opportunities whether it’s our specialty court dockets whether it’s diversion programs and things like that,” said Crawley.
Agencies will have to opt in to be part of the database. Crawley said that work starts now.
“Will be working with other agencies to explain to them the benefits of opting into this and putting their information in and really stressing that we are not asking them to collect any additional data that they’re not already collecting,” she said.
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved this new partnership.