Can Data Help End Racism In the Justice System? Google Is Donating Millions to Find Out

0
1431
Google.org also has donated to organizations to help end racism in the education system. (Shawn Collins)

Google is doing its part to help combat racism in the criminal justice system by donating $11.5 million to 10 organizations.

The tech company’s charitable arm, Google.org, announced Thursday, Feb. 23 that it would double the $5-million gift to racial justice organizations it has granted since 2015. By investing in such groups, the company aims to collect data on police behavior and criminal sentencing to better understand how racism impacts nonwhite people who encounter the criminal justice system.

“We believe better data can be can be part of the solution, which is why we’re investing in organizations using data and evidence to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system,” Google.org Principal Justin Steele said.

The organization has awarded millions to groups that can collect that information, including $5 million to the Center for Policing Equality, which works with police, communities and political stakeholders to strengthen relationships.

“Google’s deep investment will help us think bigger and bolder about how to make policing more democratic and more American,” CPE president and co-founder Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff said in a statement. “It’s nothing short of a financial miracle in terms of what it allows us to do.”

Google will soon volunteer with CPE’s National Justice Database, the first in the nation that tracks and standardizes national data on police behavior like the use of force and traffic stops.

Another group, Measures for Justice, will receive $1.5 million from the Internet services company. President and Executive Director Amy Bach said MFJ is “thrilled” about Google’s investment.

“With Google’s support, we will now be able to collect, analyze and compare county-level performance data of the entire system … and make that data available via our searchable, free data portal,” Bach told Atlanta Black Star. “Everyone will be able to see where racial disparities exist and how poor people are treated differently.”

Other donations include $1 million to Impact Justice’s Restorative Justice Project, which strives to keep 1,900 nonwhite youths out of jail, and $500,000 to the W. Haywood Burns Institute, which ensures national police data is accessible to organizations measuring it for impact.

Tshaka Barrows, deputy director of the Burns Institute, told ABS the organization will use the funds to further their work with statistics.

“For us to explore specifically how we can enhance the approach that we utilize in terms of utilizing data in the various jurisdictions around the country, you gain a better perspective about the extent to which they have racial and ethnic disparities,” Barrows said. “But, also what the neighborhood is like, where the resources lie and how we can maximize the potential of the collaborative that we work so hard to build [in local governments].”

Google also will give $650,000 to JustLeadershipUSA, which trains formerly incarcerated individuals nationwide on how to lead reform efforts. The tech behemoth has given additional funds to Defy Ventures, Center for Employment Opportunities, Silicon Valley De-Bug and Code for America, which helps ex-inmates.

Comments: Get Heard