Justice Mapping Center: NY-based reveals 'million-dollar blocks' of incarceration nationwide - Technical.ly Baltimore

Civic

Oct. 5, 2012 10:30 am

Justice Mapping Center: NY-based reveals ‘million-dollar blocks’ of incarceration nationwide

The meaning behind seeing, say, vacant housing data on a map was emphasized at Groundwork, the civic hackathon put on by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council last weekend.

Depicting demographic and municipal data as points on a map is a helpful way to visualize urban blight — and pockets of opportunity — in a city, as Elliot Plack has done with his map of Baltimore’s vacant houses, or as Colin Drane has done with his SpotCrime crime-mapping website.

But the meaning behind seeing, say, vacant housing data on a map was emphasized at Groundwork, the civic hackathon put on by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council last weekend. Plotting data without discovering any practical uses that might improve city living can be an empty exercise.

Finding practical uses for data is the goal of the New York-based Justice Mapping Center, which plots data using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) “to help our partners better understand, evaluate and communicate criminal justice and other social policy information,” according to its website.

In several states, the Justice Mapping Center has plotted the “residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems” to illustrate “a concept it calls “million-dollar blocks” — areas where more than $1 million is being spent annually to incarcerate the residents of a single census block,” reports National Public Radio.

Advertisement

In an interview with NPR, director Eric Cadora of the Justice Mapping Center says mapping data points is a useful tool for getting city officials to pay attention.

[W]hen you actually gather the real data … on maps, [it becomes] immediately understandable to people who didn’t see it — like legislators, city council people, researchers. They become almost urban planners and start to ask questions like, ‘Look at all the resources around this million-dollar area, but they’re not being used well. How can we take those resources, and then seek to strengthen them?’ …

One of the things we noticed right away when legislators and others started to see this, is they talked about this issue differently. Instead of getting stuck in the ‘being soft, get tough [on crime]’ paradox, they started to talk about neighborhoods … [more]

While the Justice Mapping Center has an online Justice Atlas with criminal justice datasets for 22 states, Maryland’s information is not yet available through the atlas.

-30-
JOIN THE COMMUNITY, BECOME A MEMBER
Already a member? Sign in here

Advertisement

Maryland’s open data portal now has a Twitter handle

Baltimore will need sustainable solutions. Here’s how this hackathon is working on them from the start

This Johns Hopkins center that’s helping cities harness data is expanding

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Building a data acquisition system? Don’t make this mistake

Baltimore, MD 21201

14 West

Junior Database Administrator

Apply Now
Baltimore, MD

Whitebox

Javascript Developer

Apply Now
Baltimore

14 West

Reporting Analyst

Apply Now

16 hours, 16 projects: A look at what teams created at the sixth Baltimore Hackathon

4 ways to succeed at a hackathon

Mentoring at a hackathon can be just as educational as joining a team

SPONSORED

Baltimore

How SmartLogic accelerated these startups’ product growth trajectories

Baltimore

14 West

Project Analyst

Apply Now
Baltimore

14 West

Senior Java Software Engineer

Apply Now
Baltimore

14 West

Project Specialist

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!