Google has pledged $11.5 million to combat “racial bias” and “disparities” in the criminal justice system, according to USA Today.
“Among the organizations receiving funds from Google.org is the Center for Policing Equity, a national research center that collaborates with police departments and the communities they serve to track statistics on law enforcement actions, from police stops to the use of force,” reported USA Today. “In addition to the grant of $5 million, Google engineers will put their time and skills to work on improving the center’s national database.”
“There is significant ambiguity regarding the extent of racial bias in policing and criminal sentencing,” claimed Justin Steele, a “principal” with Google.org. “We must find ways to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information.”
President and co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity, Phillip Atiba Goff, praised Google’s pledge in a statement, adding, “It’s hard to measure justice.”
“In policing, data are so sparse and they are not shared broadly. The National Justice Database is an attempt to measure justice so that people who want to do the right thing can use that metric to lay out a GPS for getting where we are trying to go,” he declared. “That’s really what we see Google as being a key partner in helping us do.”
“With black men sentenced at over five times the rate of white men, mass incarceration is a major focus of the Google grants,” proclaimed USA Today, before revealing the list of organizations that Google would be supporting.
Measures for Justice is set to receive $1.5 million “to create a Web platform that gives Californians a snapshot of how their local justice system treats people based on their criminal history and based on different categories such as age, race and ethnicity, gender and indigence,” while Impact Justice is set to receive $1 million “to work on restorative justice programs to keep 1,900 youth, primarily youth of color, out of the juvenile justice system.”
“JustLeadershipUSA will receive $650,000 to train people who were incarcerated to lead reform efforts at the local, state and national level,” the magazine reported, adding, “The W. Haywood Burns Institute will receive $500,000 to improve the quality and accessibility data available to criminal justice reform organizations in each of California’s 58 counties,” and “#Cut50 will receive $250,000 to use virtual reality to increase empathy for people in prison.”
Defy Ventures, the Center for Employment Opportunities, Silicon Valley De-Bug, and Code for America will also receive financial support from Google.
Google’s philanthropy arm, Google.org, has previously supported “racial justice innovators,” including groups such as #BlackLivesMatter.
“In 2015, Googlers around the world expressed their solidarity for victims of racially-motivated violence in the US. Spurred on by this movement in our company and the work of our Black Googler Network, Google.org announced a $5 million initial new investment to support leaders working for racial justice in the criminal and educational systems,” boast the company on their website. “Since then, we have awarded over $5M to eight projects, including partnerships with leaders like #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, My Brother’s Keeper innovator Chris Chatmon, and widely acclaimed public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson. This work builds on previous support Google.org has made to organizations working for racial equality via our local giving and Impact Challenges, such as the Hidden Genius Project, Beyond 12, the Reset Foundation, Essie Justice Group and the Center for Employment Opportunities.”
Google.org’s other projects have included “supporting the refugee and migrant crisis,” “improving computer science education,” and fighting numerous diseases.