In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Andrew Branch, Director of Product Engineering at Measures for Justice (MFJ). MFJ, an ITX client and Rochester, NY neighbor, is a criminal justice research organization whose mission is to make accurate criminal justice data available and accessible to all – and to leverage this same data to spur societal reform.
These data are jarring. As Andrew reports –
- As many Americans have a college diploma as have a criminal record – a statistic that mostly impacts people of color.
- One in three black men born in 2001 will likely be imprisoned at some point in their lifetime. For Latinos, the number is 1 in 6. For white males, it’s 1 in 17.
- The more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. adhere to their own variation of a criminal justice system – a vast, complex system that includes law enforcement, prosecutors and defense counsel, courts and jails, and so on. On top of that, these same jurisdictions craft their own policies and use their own data systems to track it all.
These data demand answers to many questions, not least of which is how are we to make informed decisions about things we can’t isolate, measure, and compare? Thankfully, our friends at Measures for Justice are committed to building solutions that leverage technology to deliver vital societal change.
“At MFJ, we collect countywide criminal case data, from arrest to post-conviction,” Andrew says. “We then clean it up, normalize it, and package it into performance measures that provide a comprehensive picture of how cases are being handled across the entire criminal justice system. We then make it available to the public on our free data portal.”
Interviewing clients is a treat for us. So be sure to tune in. The lessons here are as vital to product people as they are to those of us imagining a world in which social justice reigns.
Andrew’s Recommended Reading:
Ordinary Justice: How America Holds Court, by Amy Bach.
Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins.
Andrew Branch joined Measures for Justice in 2015. As Director of Product Engineering, Andrew oversees MFJ’s engineering effort to collect and manage criminal justice data and the product line to bring it to the public. Andrew brings his 30 years’ experience and passion for software development and team building to the position. He has designed and delivered numerous business and consumer-oriented products over that time.