NLADA’s Defender Data Exchange (DDX) brings together public defense providers and student researchers in a mutually beneficial partnership to conduct in-depth analysis of data collected by defender programs. Results will provide an empirical foundation for designing improvements to program operations and expanding defender capacity for evidence-based advocacy. At the same time, DDX offers a unique opportunity for student researchers and faculty members -- who often have only limited access to original data -- to undertake coursework, dissertations, and theses with real-world implications.  The project is funded by the Open Society Foundations. It is funded by the Open Society Foundations.

When NLADA conceptualized the two-year DDX pilot project in 2014, it sought an appropriate academic institution and a defender office with data ripe for analysis to volunteer.  The following year, NLADA connected the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York with the Ventura County (CA) Public Defender’s Office and helped formalize the relationship. Our defender team continues to provide technical assistance and project management support.

There is a growing number of defender offices that have engaged in data collection yet lack the capacity and expertise to conduct meaningful analysis of the data collected. Such offices need guidance on how to use data to conduct self-evaluations, improve services for their clients, and advocate for additional funding. DDX aims to close this capacity gap.

On completion of the pilot, NLADA will report on the process of developing the project and discuss outcomes. The goal is for DDX to stand as a model that defender offices across the country can replicate, and to demonstrate the value and application of data analysis to defenders who might remain skeptical about its potential utility or unintended consequences. The DDX partnership can provide defenders with access to cost-effective data analysis, while building a growing pool of emerging researchers who are interested in public defense issues.

To learn more about the Defender Data Exchange, email Marea Beeman.