Tetra Tech helped the Contra Costa County Office of Reentry and Justice (ORJ) in California move toward a centralized solution for aggregating criminal justice system data.

As part of California’s criminal system reform efforts, Contra Costa County selected Tetra Tech to help lay the groundwork for a unified data collection system. This is a critical first step to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of county programming across realignment and re-entry. The Contra Costa County ORJ is a pilot project within the County Administrator's Office. It is working to realign responsibility for supervision and management of felony offenders of non-violent, non-serious, and non-sexual crimes from state to county governments and to facilitate re-entry for individuals moving through the county's criminal justice system.

A key challenge for these initiatives is fragmented data across multiple systems owned by different stakeholders, including the Superior Court of California, probation department, and Sheriff's Office. Fragmented data creates obstacles for ORJ in developing effective programs and initiatives around public safety and transitioning the supervision of felony offenders from state to county agencies.

Tetra Tech’s proposed data collection system will enable researchers in-and-outside the county to more easily access and analyze key information related to the county’s criminal justice system, providing insight and informing efforts to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for individual inmates across the county.

To design a centralized, cloud-based database to link disparate systems at minimum cost, Tetra Tech analyzed the existing data collection processes, management landscape, and requirements of key stakeholders. This information will help improve data collection and aggregation across county and non-county stakeholders, reducing employee time spent on these efforts and improving ORJ's capacity to use data to drive changes in policy and programming.

Tetra Tech also analyzed software systems used by the county’s different criminal justice departments and institutions and identified the data collected most relevant to ORJ's objectives through in-depth interviews and consultations with staff, stakeholders, and outside experts. We provided technical recommendations to create an enhanced, integrated view of the criminal justice ecosystem and enable aggregation and analysis of data across county and non-county offices. This integrated view now allows the probation department, the Superior Court of California (Contra Costa County), the Reentry Success Center, and the Office of the Sheriff to conduct more robust and comprehensive analysis of both individual-level and system-level data and outcomes. Tetra Tech provided technical data aggregation and management, security, and governance recommendations for the system.

Improved data collection will be a critical tool for operational analysts and systems managers within County departments, as well as policy-makers and academics. This new system will help stakeholders reinforce best practices and improvements in realignment, reentry, and justice as part of California’s efforts to reduce the size of the prison population, recidivism rates, corrections costs, and improve public safety.