Non-profit

Justice Innovation Lab

Website:

www.justiceinnovationlab.org/

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Project of:

New Venture Fund

Formation:

2020

Justice Innovation Lab is a left-of-center organization that works with prosecutors to address purported racial disparities in the criminal justice system. It is a fiscally sponsored project of the New Venture Fund, a left-of-center funding and fiscal sponsorship nonprofit controlled by Arabella Advisors. [1]

Background

Justice Innovation Lab is a left-progressive organization that purports to provide analysis to prosecutors to decrease incarceration rates and limit racial disparities in prisons. [2] The organization is a project of the New Venture Fund, a fiscal sponsorship nonprofit that finances various left-of-center advocacy and organizing projects. [3]

Jared Fishman, a former federal prosecutor and civil rights attorney, founded the Justice Innovation Lab in 2020. [4] Justice Innovation Lab professes that it wants to “redefine justice” by making it such that prosecutors should not set out to win cases, but to prosecute offenses with the intent of implementing left-of-center changes to the criminal justice system. [5]

Because almost 90% of criminals are prosecuted locally, Justice Innovation Lab encourages local prosecutors to work from within to introduce left-of-center criminal justice policy into the system, claiming that top-down policy changes on criminal justice are is not enough. [6]

The Justice Innovation Lab contends that prosecutors make decisions about who to charge, what charges to bring, what pleas to offer, and what sentences to request based on “gut” feelings rather than data. [7] The organization seeks to inform local prosecutors about racial disparities in pleas, sentencing, and dismissals and encourage alternatives to incarceration to increase the leniency of the criminal justice system and fix purported racial inequalities. [8]

Project

In July 2020, the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University announced a partnership with the Justice Innovation Lab for a new criminal justice research project. The two groups assisted Solicitor Scarlett Wilson of the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office in Charleston, South Carolina to collect data for analysis that the sponsors claimed would improve fairness in the criminal justice system. Justice Innovation Lab founder Jared Fishman is a part-time fellow at the Beeck Center. [9]

The project gained significant media attention in South Carolina. Researchers from Loyola University, George Washington University Law School, and the Toulouse School of Economics also joined the effort. Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said overt racism was not a problem in the justice system, instead claiming that the problem was created by “people who don’t even realize it” through implicit bias. [10]

Leadership

Jared Fishman is the founding executive director of the Justice Innovation Lab. Fishman is a civil rights lawyer and a former federal prosecutor who worked for the United States Department of Justice from 2004 until 2020. He also worked for the United States Department of State, where he helped build post-conflict Kosovo legal systems. [11]

Donald Braman is a data science and policy specialist with the Justice Innovation Lab. He is a law professor at George Washington University. [12] Daniel Li Chen is a lawyer, economist, and machine learning specialist for the Justice Innovation Lab. [13]

Roy Austin, a former federal prosecutor and former Deputy Assistant to former President Barack Obama for Urban Affairs and Justice Issues, is an advisor for the group. [14] Lynn Overmann, a former defense attorney and White House Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer during the Obama administration, is also a Justice Innovation Lab advisor. [15]

References

  1. Donate Now. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 9, 2021. https://secure.donationpay.org/justiceinnovationlab/ ^
  2. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 6, 2021. justiceinnovationlab.org ^
  3. Donate Now. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 9, 2021. https://secure.donationpay.org/justiceinnovationlab/ ^
  4. Jared Fishman. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jared-fishman-50110a1a9/ ^
  5. Prosecutors Want to do Better. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.justiceinnovationlab.org/solution ^
  6. Donate Now. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 9, 2021. https://secure.donationpay.org/justiceinnovationlab/ ^
  7. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 6, 2021. justiceinnovationlab.org ^
  8. Prosecutors Want to do Better. Justice Innovation Lab. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.justiceinnovationlab.org/solution ^
  9. Press Release. “New Project Uses Data to Reduce Bias and Improve Fairness in Criminal Prosecutions.” July 30, 2020. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.scsolicitor9.org/news/2020/beeck-center-release-for-data-justice-project.pdf ^
  10. Hart, Brodie. “Lowcountry Solicitor Launches Project to Analyze Data on Racial Bias in Her Office.” ABC 4 News. July 30, 2020. Accessed January 9, 2021. https://abcnews4.com/news/local/hes-on-his-own-some-republicans-begin-to-flee-from-trump-01-09-2021 ^
  11. Jared Fishman. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jared-fishman-50110a1a9/ ^
  12. Donald Braman. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/donaldbraman/ ^
  13. Team. Justice Innovation Lab. January 8, 2021. https://www.justiceinnovationlab.org/team ^
  14. Roy Austin. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/roy-austin-9718295/ ^
  15. Lynn Overmann. LinkedIn. Accessed January 8, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynn-overmann-325bb432/ ^
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