Million Dollar Blocks – using mapping tools to create safer communities

Speaker: Eric Cadora, Founder and Director of the Justice Mapping Center.

Cadora has a history of working with criminal and justice reform, but reached a point where he felt he reached a glass ceiling.  There was a pretty steady rate of incarceration in the 1970s where it reached around 200,000 people.  After that period, it skyrocketed over 2 million today.  This drove him to look at crime mapping  in terms of how many people from a certain area have been incarcerated.

Mapping is done at different levels such as community districts, school districts or state senate districts, depending on the ‘audience,’ he says.

There is a difference between crime mapping and mapping where people who have been, or are currently incarcerated live.  Where people live and have been incarcerated is much more concentrated than than the distribution of crime, is the trend they found through mapping.

A map of NYC by census tracts with CD’s layered on top is up on the screen showing number of men admitted to prison. (It examines in terms of how many per 1000).
There are three major areas: the Bronx, upper Manhattan and Brooklyn that have the highest proportion of incarceration.  Together they make up approx 17 of total male population of NYC but account for over 50% of NY males sent to prison.

Prison Expenditures:
How much is being sent to incarcerate and then return people back to a given area?  There are certain areas in Brooklyn, for e.g. where it costs $1million to do this and in some cases up to $50 million.  So, the question is, is it right to spend all this money to send these people to prison only for them to come back after 4 years?  How about we bring these dollars back and reinvest in the neighborhood to  prevent crime and recidivism?

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