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Defendant Characteristics

This section presents information on defendant characteristics, including race, ethnicity, age, and gender. It also presents information on criminal history and trends in offending.

Why is this important? Not all individuals are equally likely to come into contact with the justice system. Systemic drivers–such as neighborhood and access to education, employment opportunities, and health resources–can impact involvement. In addition, based on wealth, some defendants may be better positioned to get “out” of the system–for example, to pay bail, afford private counsel, or access treatment. Effective prosecution strategies should consider ways to ensure that cases are processed equitably, in light of these differences. 

What are we doing to ensure that race and ethnicity data are accurate? Collecting accurate race, ethnicity, and gender data is critical to achieving equity and fairness in the justice system. It is best practice to collect race, ethnicity, and gender data via self-report, meaning that the defendant decides how they are identified. We encourage and support our law enforcement partner's efforts to collect more accurate race and ethnicity data.



The Denver DA's Office recognizes that not all individuals identify with binary male and female categories. Current data collection processes do not account for such non-binary definitions. We encourage our law enforcement partners and other criminal justice stakeholders collect more inclusive data.



The Denver DA's Office recognizes that not all individuals identify with binary male and female categories. Current data collection processes do not account for such non-binary definitions. We encourage our law enforcement partners and other criminal justice stakeholders collect more inclusive data.



The Denver DA's Office's goal is to achieve equity in filing decisions across all defendants. There are well-recognized difficulties in collecting accurate race and ethnicity data. One should keep these difficulties in mind when reviewing metrics which include race and/or ethnicity. The Denver District Attorney's Office supports efforts by our law enforcement partners to more accurately collect race and ethnicity data.





The Denver DA's Office's goal is to achieve equity in filing decisions across all defendants. There are well-recognized difficulties in collecting accurate race and ethnicity data. One should keep these difficulties in mind when reviewing metrics which include race and/or ethnicity. The Denver District Attorney's Office supports efforts by our law enforcement partners to more accurately collect race and ethnicity data.









Notes:

  • Data on defendant demographics, including race and ethnicity, is reported to the DA’s Office by law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement currently captures this data through various mechanisms: (1) by linking to prior criminal history records, (2) by scanning a Colorado ID or driver’s license, (3) through fingerprint technology, or (4) based on the officer’s “perceived demographic information of the person contacted” (as required by HB21-1250). Officer assumptions have the potential to lead to inaccurate or inconsistent data.
  • In benchmarking against the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice we found that individuals identified as Hispanic are underreported in our data.