Data and statistical gaps in criminal justice

Think tank: Centre for Public Data

Author(s): Gideon Leibowitz; Anna Powell-Smith

March 28, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Public Data provides technical recommendations on how to address justice system data gaps.

Our criminal justice system is rife with data gaps that obscure genuine scrutiny of justice in the UK.  This report maps these data gaps and provides the Ministry of Justice with technical recommendations on how to address them at minimal cost.

Despite repeated calls from MPs and researchers, this report finds basic criminal justice questions that still cannot be answered: how many defendants appear in Magistrates’ Courts without lawyers? how many defendants are held in custodial remand beyond the legal time limits?

These data gaps make it harder to spot where services are failing, whether marginalised groups are being mistreated, and support evidence-based policymaking.