The office of the State's Attorney prosecutes crimes. Prosecutors work closely with the investigating agency, which includes Chicago Police, Cook County Sheriff's office. The Felony Review Units takes the case to determine what charges to file and whether there is enough evidence to prosecute the case. This unit alone has the authority to approve homicide charges; or, in cases involving juveniles, homicide charges or any lesser charge arising from the same occurrence (Not including drug or syndicated gambling charges).

Data Inventory

The data inventory is a list of the information that's recorded by the State's Attorney's Office for all the cases that they prosecute. Conceptually, there are three possibilities for this data:

  1. Data readily available,
  2. Data available through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and
  3. Data that is collected but not available.

Open Data

Currently, there is no information publicly available or online from the Prosecutor's Office about the data they collect. It is known that some information trail exists, although it may be that much of it is never entered into a database.

FOIA Accessible Data

The State's Attorney's Office has in the past been ruled by a judge to be exempt from the requirements set by Illinois's FOIA law. Using this as a justification, they refused a minimal FOIA request that the Chicago Justice Project sent asking what fields they collect.

Unavailable Data

All of the data this agency may collect is unavailable.

How to Access Prosecutorial Data in Chicago

To access data from the State's Attorney's Office, you need to file a request for data under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). You will need to send an email including: (1) your name and contact information, along with (2) a description of the records you are requesting. Please try to be reasonably specific for the data you are looking for so that they can more easily process your request.

National Models for Releasing Justice Data

Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor (Ohio)

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office stands out in their display of prosecution data online. You can map the location of each incident that has been prosecuted by the office. This includes a performance dashboard that includes dispositions statistics, juvenile dispositions, cold case rapes, heroin deaths and prosecutions, incarceration statistics, and charging statistics. This office stands far ahead of any other prosecutors offices in the country for transparency and data use online; however, while the data is visible online you cannot download any of the data.

Other Models

Elkhart County

This project is part of the Smart Chicago Collaborative's Civic Works Project, a program funded by the Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to spur support civic innovation in Chicago.

Our partners for this project are Chicago Justice Project, a nonprofit research organization, and FreeGeek Chicago's Supreme Chi-Town Coding Crew (SC3). You can find the code backing this website on Github. We used the Chicago Tribune's Tarbell content management system to build our site. Content and code is under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence.