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IDOC launches online Indicator Tool, partnering with Women’s Justice, NYU Marron Institutes

On Jan. 9, 2023, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), in partnership with the Women’s Justice Institute (WJI), launched an online Indicator Tool for IDOC’s prison and parole population data as well as a data dashboard focused solely on women in custody and on supervised release.

For over a decade, IDOC has posted population data sets and other reports on its website, providing public access to demographic and population data for individuals in custody or on parole and the number of people incarcerated in IDOC’s facilities.

Now, for the first time, users of the website will see a variety of new visualizations and key metrics that will make interpretation and exploration much easier.

These new resources, developed by New York University’s Marron Institute Litmus team with Litmus Data for Justice Fellows, allow the public and policymakers to interact with these data through filterable charts that can also be downloaded as images or as a spreadsheet.

The Women’s Data Dashboard, also available on the Department’s website, focuses exclusively on trends among the women’s population. It highlights key metrics on women in prison and on supervised release, currently and over time.

These metrics, which will be updated quarterly along with the Indicator Tool, help to track the impacts of reforms in law and policy intended to reduce the harms of incarceration, improve outcomes for women in the system and their families, and increase public safety.

The Indicator Tool and the Women’s Data Dashboard also support data-driven decision-making for future system improvements.

“Few areas of public interest demand transparency more than corrections. We hope that constituents and policymakers can use these tools to better understand the state’s prison population and what reforms can help us to further reduce the number of people in custody. We’re grateful for the support of NYU and WJI in developing these tools that affirm the Department’s core values of accountability, transparency, and responsiveness,” said IDOC Director Rob Jeffreys.

“This partnership between the Illinois Department of Corrections and WJI will help the public and policymakers alike track critical metrics from prison population data to the tangible impacts and outcomes of specific reforms—advancing transparency, accountability, and justice,” said MK Pritzker. “Working with incarcerated women, particularly through WJI, has been a primary focus of mine since becoming First Lady of Illinois—and I thank everyone at IDOC, WJI, and the NYU Marron Institute for their leadership and commitment to this important project.”

“We commend the Department on its ongoing commitment to ensuring that women are not overlooked. These formal, analytical tools will contribute to a broader understanding of women’s unique pathways before, during and after incarceration and drive impactful cross-sector solutions. We believe the work we have supported in Illinois can and should be replicated nationally,” said WJI Co-Founders Deanne Benos and Dr. Alyssa Benedict.

“IDOC continues to take bold action in making key metrics available to the public that highlight its operations, programming, and partnerships with reform advocates to continually improve. We look forward to supporting IDOC and other correctional agencies as they increase transparency,” said Dr. Angela Hawken, NYU Marron Institute Director.

The Illinois Department of Corrections’ mission is to serve justice in Illinois and increase public safety by promoting positive change for those in custody, operating successful reentry programs, and reducing victimization.

WJI is a dynamic “think and do tank” that collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders to address women’s mass incarceration, reduce harm to impacted women, their children and families and improve health, well-being, and outcomes among them. The WJI’s team of experts, co-led by formerly incarcerated women, works across sectors to build transformative solutions.

Litmus is a team at the New York University Marron Institute that promotes innovation in the public sector, by working with public agencies and the people they serve to develop and test new ideas for improving performance.

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