Abigail Crocker, Department of Mathematics & Statistics, The University of Vermont
Statistics and Social Justice
Transforming the criminal-legal system is of broad interest. There is growing recognition of the inequities in our current system as well as its negative impacts on justice-involved populations and communities, including harms from mass incarceration. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified these issues, highlighting the need for a public health approach to meaningful systems change. Statistics and research have important roles to play in advancing these efforts. The Justice Research Initiative (JRI) at the University of Vermont (UVM) engages researchers and community stakeholders in a participatory, data-driven approach for understanding and addressing critical justice-related issues. This talk will provide an overview of JRI and how statistics and community-based participatory research (CBPR) are applied across two projects, 1) Prison Research and Innovation Network (PRIN): A project championed by the Urban Institute with funding from Arnold Ventures, PRIN is consortium of 5 states, each using data and CBPR to make prisons more transparent and humane. 2) National Center on Restorative Justice (NCORJ): A partnership between UVM, the University of San Diego, and the Vermont Law School with funding from the US Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. NCORJ aims to advance research on equity-centered, non-carceral approaches to accountability and to grow the next generation of justice researchers.