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NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Visualising trends in criminal sentencing to make better policy decisions with regards to the Justice system in NSW
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) is a subdivision of the Department of Communities and Justice and is responsible for the processing and publication of data regarding the performance of the Justice system in NSW. In line with their internal charter to become more consumer focused, they have been driving the development of a number of innovative interactive tools, allowing external users to interact with the data sets that they collate.
I'm really pleased with the finished product we achieved through our engagement with Deepend. The Sentencing Tool significantly increases public access to information about court processes, provides a valuable resource for policy makers and stakeholders within the justice system and generally greatly improves transparency of the criminal justice system. All this in an intuitive and user friendly format!
The first of these tools to be developed focused on the visualising of data pertaining to Criminal Court Sentencing Data. The application presents data on court sentences imposed on offenders having proven court appearances in the NSW Local and Higher Courts.
Sentence information is provided across three levels of offence classifications (grouped by the Australian and New Zealand Offence Classification groups), and allows users to apply a number of filters to view sentencing outcomes specific to their data and information needs, including offender age bracket, Gender, whether the offender had any prior convictions, and whether the offender had served any time in prison previously.
Given the sensitive nature of the data, the decision was made to only use aggregated data sets, with the application of suppression business logic to remove the possibility of unveiling particularly sensitive unit data from low responses. This ensures that users can’t filter down to sensitive results, such as the location of the recipient of a specific criminal sentence etc.
Catering to a broad audience set, from data novice to experienced statisticians, the tool provides for both high level and deep analysis.
Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, making complex data sets accessible and easily interpreted
The tool provides a benchmark for the presentation of Justice system data and will facilitate better policy decision making and reporting ongoing