Innovative Prosecutorial Performance Indicators in Multnomah County, OR
The Multnomah County DA’s Office recognized the value in using data to inform decision making, and desired a way to improve office-wide performance measurement and share outcomes with community stakeholders. Some jurisdictions have come a long way in creating tools to measure outcomes when it comes to appearance in court and recidivism. But when it comes to prosecutorial processes, many communities lack meaningful ways to define performance, measure related outcomes, and use this information to make relevant policy and process changes. Multnomah County had infrastructure in place to collect performance data, but needed a way to translate this information into visuals and messages that could be used to engage stakeholders both within the office and in the community.
Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPI) is a project created by Florida International University to address effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness. While the suite of indicators is free and available online, JSP partnered with FIU and the Multnomah County DA’s Office to coordinate their launch in Multnomah County. Working with a team of stakeholders and representatives from FIU and the County, we coordinated support for timing and sequencing, communications, training, and community engagement around the PPIs. Read more about the PPI project here.
Multnomah County’s PPI dashboards were launched publicly in February 2022. Since their creation, the Multnomah County’s DA’s executive team has used the dashboards to bring data into discussions about internal management and office-wide operations. A Policy Committee comprised of staff prosecutors convenes regularly, using the dashboards to inform discussion. Furthermore, a DA’s Office Community Advisory Board was created with a primary charge to examine and respond to the PPI dashboards. Public reception and media coverage in Multnomah County has been overwhelmingly positive, and the DA’s Office continues to consider new ways to use the dashboards to inform prosecutorial decision making. For example, the dashboards illustrated that Black defendants were referred at a higher rate than their makeup of the population, despite the fact that there were no major differences in issuance rates across racial and ethnic groups. The DA’s office continues to use the dashboard tool to evaluate policies and practices to ensure that disparities are not compounded across prosecutorial decision points. For more data stories and to view the dashboard tool, visit the MCDA’s website.
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