Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Data and Mapping for Prisoner Re-Entry

Back in 2001, my organization took a look at services for ex-offenders and the challenges involved in prisoner re-entry.

Now there's a new report on using data and mapping technology to help communities address these same issues. The report, Mapping for Community-Based Prisoner Reentry Efforts (PDF), is produced by The Police Foundation and is subtitled "A Guidebook for Law Enforcement Agencies and Their Partners." But the report doesn't concentrate only on community safety issues (though that's one of the primary concerns of the report.) It also looks at how mapping re-entry services, housing opportunities, and the like can help people not re-offend.

Beyond the specific subject material, however, the report is a good example of the power of community-based solutions using data, trendlines, and mapping technology. If you don't read it for the content, read it for the process used to develop its answers -- and think about how your community processes could benefit from a similar approach.