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Fact-Based Policy: How Do State and Local Governments Accomplish It?

The Hamilton ProjectFact-based policy is essential to making government more effective and efficient. Many states could benefit from more extensive use of data and evidence when making policy, including policy related to adult and juvenile criminal justice-related issues such as correctional and reentry programming. Private companies have taken advantage of declining computing costs and vast data resources to solve problems in a fact-based way, but state and local governments have not made as much progress.

This policy proposal from The Hamilton Project draws on the experience of researcher Justine S. Hastings in Rhode Island to propose that states build secure, comprehensive, integrated databases, and then transform those databases into data lakes that are optimized for developing insights. Policymakers can then use the insights from this work to sharpen policy goals, create policy solutions, and measure progress against those goals.