Justice Codes Symposium

A forum co-hosted by Justice Codes and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center’s Justice Tech Initiative

October 12, 2016

As the nation increases its focus on improving the criminal justice system and technology becomes more accessible, the possibilities and risks of emerging technologies in the justice field have proliferated. Are new technologies able to improve justice or are they merely adding a digital veneer to systemic problems? Join us and an interdisciplinary group of nationally recognized thought leaders to discuss such questions as:

  • How is technology affecting people in the criminal justice system?
  • Are algorithms improving policing or digitizing racial bias?
  • How should we measure success and hold new technologies accountable?
  • Can social media be used to better understand juvenile violence?


8:00 – 9:00   Breakfast and Registration

9:00 – 9:05


Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Prior to his appointment as the President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Jeremy Travis was a senior fellow affiliated with the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute where he launched a national research program focused on prisoner reentry. From 1994 to 2000, he directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.


9:05 – 9:30

Julia Angwin, ProPublica
Now a senior reporter at ProPublica, Julia Angwin was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal from 2000 to 2013, where she led a privacy investigative team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2011. Her recent work explores the use of algorithms in the criminal justice system.

9:30 – 10:20
Beyond Efficiency: How Technology and Data Affect People in the Justice System

head_tasheaModerator: Jason Tashea, Justice Codes
Jason is the founder of Justice Codes and justice technology consultant at the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College. Previously, he was a juvenile justice policy director in Maryland and a Fulbright Fellow researching juvenile diversion in Kosovo. Originally from Alaska, Jason graduated from Linfield College and the University of Oregon Law School.

Sharad Hegde, OpenJC and BeSafe.City
Sharad Hegde is co-founder at Futuriste and director of technology at OpenJC, a non-profit organization that uses open data and technology to improve communities and the functioning of government. As co-founder of Futuriste.net, his work focuses on delivering global commodity market intelligence. He is a graduate of the University of Pune in Maharashtra, India.


Cynthia Conti-Cook, New York Legal Aid Society
As a staff attorney in the New York Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Practice’s Special Litigation Unit, Cynthia Conti-Cook founded the Cop Accountability Project, a database of police officers accused of wrongdoing. She led legal efforts to force New York City to release records of prior complaints against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who killed Eric Garner.


J.J. Prescott, University of Michigan Law School
J.J. Prescott is Professor of Law at the University of Michigan and co-director of the Empirical Legal Studies Center and the Program in Law and Economics. He is principal investigator of the U-M Online Court Project that uses technology to help people facing warrants, fines, and minor charges to resolve their legal matters online without the need to hire an attorney. He graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School and he earned the Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

10:20 – 10:40   Break

10:40 – 11:30
Algorithmic Policing: Big Data, Bias and Public Safety

head_angwinModerator: Julia Angwin, ProPublica
Now a senior reporter at ProPublica, Julia Angwin was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal from 2000 to 2013, where she led a privacy investigative team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2011. Her recent work explores the use of algorithms in the criminal justice system.
head_heffnerJeremy Heffner, HunchLab
Product Manager and Senior Data Scientist at HunchLab where he leads law enforcement projects and research. His work has included predictive modeling of long and short term crime risk with Temple University and writing statistical models to power Rutgers University’s Risk Terrain Modeling Diagnostics Utility.

William Isaac, Michigan State University
William Isaac is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of political science at Michigan State University and an affiliated member of the MSU Social Science Data Analytics initiative. His research focuses on political behavior, policy design, and survey methodology. Previously, he was a research assistant for the Washington DC based environmental research institute, Resources for the Future. He graduated from the University of Alabama and holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University.


Ravi Shroff, New York University
A research scientist at New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, Ravi Shroff is also a fellow at Data & Society Research Institute. His research interests focus on computational social science and the application of machine learning techniques. His current research projects include an analysis of New York City’s “stop, question and frisk” policy and methods to accurately measure gunfire-related crime. He earned a Masters in applied urban science and informatics from New York University.


Panel Discussion


11:30 – 11:40   Break

11:40 – 12:30
Panel  III
Measuring Success: How do we Know a New Idea is a Good Idea?

head_jbutts2014mModerator: Jeffrey Butts, John Jay College
Jeffrey A. Butts is director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Previously, he was a research fellow with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, director of the Program on Youth Justice at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and senior research associate at the National Center for Juvenile Justice. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
head_cromieBill Cromie, Blue Ridge Labs
Director Of Emergent Technology at Blue Ridge Labs, Bill Cromie was previously the President and founder of Copromote.com and the CTO And co-founder of Selectable Media. He is a graduate of New York University.

Clarence Wardell, U.S. Digital Service, The White House
Before joining the U.S. Digital Service, Clarence Wardell III was a Presidential Innovation Fellow. His work focuses on using open data as a means to increase trust and engagement between law enforcement agencies and citizens. An affiliate of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, he graduated in computer engineering from the University of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Brian Hill is CEO and Founder of Edovo. He was previously with the business planning staff of General Mills. He graduated from Brigham Young University and studied management at Northwestern University.


12:30 – 1:30

Desmond Patton, Columbia School of Social Work
Desmond Patton is a member of the faculty at Columbia University where he uses qualitative and computational methods to examine how youth and young adults living in violent urban neighborhoods experience, navigate and respond to community violence in their neighborhood as well on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.