EPIC Lab receives $2M NSF grant to build big data tools in support of criminal justice

September 7, 2021

A group of UC Berkeley researchers – including BIDS’ Faculty Affiliates Aditya ParameswaranSarah Chasins and Joseph Hellerstein (Berkeley EECS), Erin Kerrison (Berkeley School of Social Welfare), and Senior Research Data Scientist Stéfan van der Walt – have recently won a 3-year, $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to improve the useability of big datasets and create new computing tools that will help defense attorneys, criminal justice workers, and others more easily engage in data-intensive research into police misconduct, judicial decision-making and related issues. The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) is a partner, and other collaborators on the project include Niloufar Salehi (Berkeley School of Information), and Berkeley EECS’ Joseph Gonzalez, Anthony Joseph, and Koushik Sen.

The new Effective Programming, Interaction, and Computation with Data (EPIC) Lab, is also collaborating with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Secure Justice, and the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, groups with considerable criminal justice expertise that will be contributing to help shape the goals for the tools the lab is developing. 

The tools developed will initially be used in San Francisco, Alameda, and Sacramento, and one of the datasets that EPIC researchers will work with is a large set of California police records, released in response to a 2019 state law, that enable defenders to search for state police officers with records of lying, withholding evidence and other forms of misconduct. The collaboration will also contribute to a pre-existing collaboration between UC Berkeley and the criminal defense lawyers association known as the Community Law Enforcement Accountability Network, a project that aims to expand a Legal Aid Society database in support of public defenders in New York City.

“This, frankly, gives public defenders or anybody else, including folks who are accused, information on how cases are handled within these local ecosystems. This knowledge will also bolster litigation efforts in criminal legal system reform,” said Kerrison. “It's not punitive. EPIC is about accountability and evening out resources.”

Read more ...

UC Berkeley Researchers Receive $2 Million Grant to Build Criminal Justice Big Data Tools
September 7, 2021   |    Rachel Leven   |   CDSS News

EPIC Lab receives $2M NSF grant to build tools for criminal justice big datasets
September 7, 2021  |    Magdalene L. Crowley    |     EECS News

Erin Kerrison among UC Berkeley Recipients of $2 Million Grant to Build Criminal Justice Big Data Tools
September 7, 2021   |    Rachel Leven   |   Berkeley School of Social Welfare News

NSF Award Abstract # 2129008 (FW-HTF-R): Human-Machine Teaming for Effective Data Work at Scale: Upskilling Defense Lawyers Working with Police and Court Process Data
August 31, 2021   

Updated February 1, 2022

Featured Fellows

Aditya Parameswaran

EECS, School of Information, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Sarah E. Chasins

EECS, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Joseph Hellerstein

Computer Science, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Erin M. Kerrison

Social Welfare, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate

Stéfan van der Walt

Senior Research Data Scientist