Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 11:20 am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum, together with the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR), announced today a new public resource that represents a huge step toward increasing the transparency of North Dakota’s criminal justice system.

North Dakota has long been at the forefront of state-led criminal justice reform and in acknowledging the role that data plays in reform efforts. With this new initiative, North Dakota is taking a bold step toward transparency and accountability by releasing much of this data to the public. 

In partnership with Recidiviz – a nonprofit founded by tech veterans from Google, Apple and Dropbox – the DOCR has now released a public-facing website designed to answer basic questions that citizens might have about corrections and rehabilitation in North Dakota. The site provides data and insights to researchers, policymakers and the public on all stages of North Dakota’s corrections system, opportunities for further analysis and educational context – all updated on a daily basis.

The core of the site – now live at dashboard.docr.nd.gov – is a set of data visualizations that are built to answer questions such as “How many people are incarcerated right now?” and “What proportion of people successfully complete parole?” Each visualization includes controls for visitors to further explore the data, including filters for race, gender and age. 

“By providing a window into the real-time impacts of changes to our corrections system, this dashboard developed in partnership with Recidiviz can help us continuously improve operations while increasing transparency and accountability,” Burgum said. “This technology will allow us to better see what’s working and what isn’t so we can improve lives, enhance public safety and save taxpayer dollars.”

With this new site, the DOCR aims to:

  • Provide transparency and education to the public. 
  • Build trust and accountability between the people and the corrections system.
  • Highlight efforts toward a more rehabilitative criminal justice system.

The DOCR aims for this site to offer a high-level picture of how different components of the criminal justice system fit together, as well as the specifics of what goes on in our system every day. To foster greater understanding, this tool provides important written information alongside the data visualizations, such as definitions, historical context, and more.

“The DOCR is excited to provide these statistics in real time to our communities as it relates to one of our core values: transparency,” DOCR Interim Director Dave Krabbenhoft said. “We know this type of information is impactful and we want to make it easier for the public to view and understand the work we are doing and where we can improve. We are grateful to work on this project with Recidiviz.”

This work builds on a prior engagement with Recidiviz, which has resulted in a more data-driven approach to our corrections system operations. It also builds on North Dakota’s continued efforts to deploy innovative solutions for reform, including those covered by Governing and National Public Radio, and the recent Justice Reinvestment effort.