Justice Mapping Center Launches First National Atlas of Criminal Justice Data
Reports, Featured — Posted October 5th, 2010
The Justice Mapping Center launched the National Justice Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections, an online, interactive, mapping utility that gives policy makers, the media, researchers and the public a neighborhood-level view of where prison inmates and offenders on probation and parole are from and where corrections spending is highest. The atlas can be found at www.justiceatlas.org.
“After 26 months of extensive work with corrections departments in more than 22 states, we are proud to launch this unique, online, interactive criminal justice mapping resource,” said Eric Cadora, founder of the Justice Mapping Center. “We hope that in addition to revealing cycles of incarceration and reentry experienced by residents of communities across the country, the Justice Atlas will also spur policy responses that will have a positive impact on residents in neighborhoods already grappling with high rates of crime and violence.”
Publication of the Atlas means that for the first time, policy makers, researchers, community organizations, media and even departments of corrections themselves now have access to data that geographically illustrates:
- the concentration of incarceration rates in disadvantaged communities all around the country;
- the crucial role that parole and probation revocations play in recycling the same neighborhood residents back to prison each year;
- the millions of dollars per neighborhood being spent to imprison residents of these communities;
- the disparities between the proportion of a city’s population who live in a community and the proportion of the city’s returning prisoners who live in that community.
The Atlas reveals the following kinds of data:
- In New York City, neighborhoods that are home to 18% of the city’s adult population account for more than 50% of prison admissions each year.
- In Wichita, Kansas, where probation and parole revocations account for more than two-thirds of the city’s admissions to prison each year, one-quarter of all people on probation or parole live in only 8% of the city’s neighborhoods.
- In Pennsylvania, taxpayers will spend over $40 million to imprison residents of neighborhoods in a single zip code in Philadelphia, where 38% of households have incomes under $25,000.
- In Shreveport, Louisiana, nearly seven percent of all working age men living in the neighborhoods of a single zip code were sent to prison in 2008.
- In Austin, Texas, while neighborhoods in three of the city’s 41 zip codes are home to only 3.5% of the city’s adult population, they grapple with over 17% of people returning from prison each year.
“The Justice Atlas provides state and local leaders with a powerful new tool to analyze what is driving their crime and incarceration rates and to devise new strategies that will produce a better return on the billions we spend on corrections,” said Adam Gelb, director of the Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project.
The Justice Mapping Center created and launched the inaugural edition of the National Justice Atlas of Sentencing and Corrections through substantial support from the Ford Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Open Society Institute, the crucial participation of the research staff of departments of corrections and probation/parole in 22 states, and in collaboration with its partners at the JFA Institute and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s Spatial Information Design Lab. For a list of the 22 states included in the Justice Atlas and for more information, please visit www.justiceatlas.org .