King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Releases Public Data Dashboard After Input From Community Groups

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) released a first-of-its-kind data dashboard that provides public access to data regarding the types of crimes referred to KCPAO and the cases filed in King County. Over the past year, KCPAO has partnered with a number community groups, criminal justice system partners, and academic experts to gain an understanding of their needs and concerns, which informed data collection methods and the development of the dashboard.

While this dashboard will be updated regularly moving forward, it offers insight into how KCPAO is making progress in criminal justice reform efforts with a focus on public safety.

“We are proactively taking this step as part of our commitment to transparency,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said. “While our work is nuanced and while we review each case individually, we can also measure our outcomes and the kinds of crimes we are spending public resources on. We value our partnerships with community groups and look forward to our work together going forward.”

View KCPAO’s public data dashboard HERE.

Follow this link to see a video walk-through of the dashboard.

KCPAO gathered input from the Urban Indian Health Institute, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Crime & Justice Research Center at Seattle University, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and many others. The groups provided their expertise and raised concerns about case types, referrals and how demographic information is collected by investigators. As a result, the glossary section and popups were added to help with transparency. The goal is to make this data easier for the public to access — on desktop and mobile.

KCPAO is partnering with the Urban Indian Health Institute to advance equity and social justice principles by improving data collection and analysis for American Indians and Alaska Natives, which includes data regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“King County is taking the step that we need to see everyone taking when they are collecting, analyzing, and sharing data related to Native people,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, vice-president of the Seattle Indian Health Board and director of its research division, the Urban Indian Health Institute. “Too often we see governments and others using the same poor data collection practices that have led to a data genocide against Indigenous people.”

The project is guided by four foundational principles — Transparency, Accountability, Effectiveness, and Reform — which outline what KCPAO seeks to achieve by sharing this dashboard with the King County community.

“For meaningful criminal legal reforms to be possible, there must be an acknowledgment of racial and ethnic disparities in the prison system,” said Michelle Y. Merriweather, President & CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. “Prosecutorial transparency is an essential step in addressing racist policies that continually devastate Black and Brown communities. We appreciate KCPAO’s initiative to advance criminal legal data transparency and show accountability to the communities they represent.”

“The KCPAO’s data dashboard is a pivotal step forward for King County that creates opportunity for understanding, accountability, community dialogue, and trust between criminal justice agencies and the communities they represent,” said Dr. Jacqueline B. Helfgott, Director, Crime & Justice Research Center at Seattle University. “The KCPAO data dashboard advances criminal justice data transparency and evidence-based practice by making felony case processing data publicly available. It also answers the call for data transparency at all levels of the criminal justice process from initiatives such as the Data Collaborative for Justice and builds on work done locally and nationally to make criminal justice data transparent at other stages of the criminal justice process.”

KCPAO is prioritizing our resources to address the most serious crimes — including crimes against people, repeat property offenders, domestic violence, sexual assault, weapons, and other acts of violence. This is especially important with the pandemic-related reduced capacity ordered by King County Superior Court.

“We are in the midst of a movement to reform our complex criminal justice system in Washington and throughout our country,” said Russell Brown, Executive Director, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. “Both the public and policymakers need access to real-time information. But we don’t simply need a list of data points. We need access to the information itself, to review small specific sections and see wide ranging impacts. We need to be able to analyze the information to see trends, patterns, and understand the nuance. In order to effectively improve the criminal justice system, we need data to be presented in a way that is both comprehensive yet easy to understand. The King County Prosecutor’s Office new data dashboard offers the public, government, policy, and criminal justice leaders such a tool.”

Prosecutors are one part of the criminal justice system. Each case the KCPAO files is reviewed individually, which is essential in understanding the nuances of a filing decision. We also know the way to improve the criminal justice system — in additional to looking at cases individually — is having a working understanding of where we are today. This dashboard, in partnership with community groups, is part of our commitment to transparency.

Feedback on the dashboard can be emailed to PAODataDashboard@kingcounty.gov.

A blog from King County’s elected Prosecutor, Dan Satterberg.