Solicitor Scarlett Wilson launching data-collection project to understand and correct racial disparities

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson on Wednesday announced a data-collection project, geared towards “correcting root causes of any disparities in her jurisdiction, and to ensure that her prosecutors made fair and consistent decisions.”

The project is in partnership with the Justice Innovation Lab, researchers from Loyola University, the George Washington University Law School, the Toulouse School of Economics, and the Beeck Center for Social Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University.

These experts will assist in analyzing decision making data, and detecting bias. Wilson said that “this sort of accountability will not only help the public, but the criminal justice system as a whole.”

Founder and Executive Director of Justice Innovation Lab, Jared Fishman, explained:

“Most prosecutors across the US are still making crucial decisions based on ‘gut’ and personal experience instead of data and clear guidelines. Inevitably, this leads to biases in decision making… A data-informed process empowers prosecutors to make fairer decisions. You can’t fix what you don’t measure.”

To eliminate biases, the Justice Innovation Lab will evaluate “the office’s performance on key criminal justice metrics, such as identifying racial disparities in pleas, sentences, and dismissals.” This data will be used to identify and correct systemic structural integrities.

Wilson went on to say “we know unconscious bias runs deep in every corner of this country – and we believe that this study will help identify and correct our own biases….The shame would be in ot doing all we can to eliminate bias – implicit or otherwise.”

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