Saturday, August 01, 2015

state spent $2.4 million jailing residents of just one chicago block...,

dnainfo |  The 4800 block of West Adams and 4,636 other blocks in the city were the focus of Chicago's Million Dollar Blocks, a new data project published Monday. A collaboration between social justice advocates and tech company DataMade, the site features an interactive block-by-block breakdown of how much money the city spent on jailing criminals from 2005 to 2009.

Based on data released by the Chicago Justice Project last year, the site was developed as a way "to see how incarceration affects communities on a local level," according to Dan Cooper, one of the project's leaders.

"All we hear about is how the state is in billions of dollars in debt, and meanwhile we have more than a billion dollars every year pumped into a corrections system that's had a track record of failure," said Cooper, the co-director of Adler University's Institute on Social Exclusion. "We're always hearing about money being spent on development, and here you have this shadow budget pumping tons of money into taking people out of neighborhoods, instead of bringing them in."

Million Dollar Blocks looks at more than 300,000 criminal records, showing what developers called a "conservative estimate" of how much the Illinois Department of Corrections spent on people from each block and neighborhood. Cooper said he and his colleagues assumed the minimum sentence for each offense, when in reality the state likely spends much more.

Developers at DataMade spent months putting together data based on offenders' home addresses, assuming that the state spends an average of $22,000 on each criminal every year. DataMade founder Derek Eder said his team didn't factor in offenders who served more than one sentence, again suggesting that the actual amount spent on incarceration is even larger than what the site projects.
Alongside the map is a brief report breaking down some of the ways mass incarceration impacts local communities, plus suggestions for how the state could more effectively reinvest its corrections budget.

Daryl P., who's lived in Austin his whole life, said the state's incarceration pattern is hardly making the area less dangerous.