Digital Justice Initiative

Digital Justice Initiative Project

Relying on core principles of Innovation, Technology & Inclusion, the DJI aimed to bring together communities of color, persons with disabilities, and the legal, law enforcement, and technology sectors to resolve conflicts between law enforcement and communities of color and persons with disabilities through technology (including mobile apps).

The goals of DJI are to:

  • Collect and analyze national, state, and local data to determine the core issues underlying tensions between communities of color and their police forces.
  • Hold outcome-oriented public engagement through a series of ABA JusticeHacks that propose and develop action plans and practical ways to resolve the issues with the assistance of the key stakeholders.
  • Develop a collaborative initiative that utilizes the talents, knowledge, and resources of the legal community, communities of color, disabilities communities, technology communities, and law enforcement entities.
  • Evaluate the ideas and technology solutions (including apps) developed during each Hackathon for inclusion in a best practices resource guide to be used by local governments, law enforcement agencies, communities of color, bar associations, the legal community, and other interested stakeholders.
  • JusticeHack projects are evaluated by a team of expert judges evaluate concepts on four main criteria—user experience, innovation, impact, and feasibility—as well as collaboration and scale.


What is a Hackathon?

A social justice hackathon is any event of any duration where people come together to solve problems. A Hackathon solution can come in many forms. Solutions can be mobile apps, and new and/or streamlined processes and procedures. This innovative project will leverage data, technology, communities of color, and law enforcement with legal insights through the ABA. A positive way of viewing “Hackathons” is to look at them as creative problem-solving events.

The principal goal of COREJ's Hackathon series was to increase awareness of and identify challenges to bringing the community and law enforcement together through technology.  This innovative project addressed issues of immediate and critical interest to the public and the legal profession by providing concrete strategies to develop practical ways to save and prevent the loss of life from fatal shootings by law enforcement. Ultimately, through this series of activities, this project seeks to promote a sense of empowerment in the community and facilitate engagement with partners and stakeholders that may not be currently aligned.

Miami 2.0 Hackathon

Miami JusticeHack 2.0 was held February 10, 2018 at the University of Miami School of Law with approximately 170 participants.

Winning apps:

  1.  Freeze – a virtual gaming app that immerses users in real–life high–stake scenarios that police face every day. By living out the reality of crime fighting through the eyes of the police, gamers begin to better understand the police perspective.
  2.  E.I. –using a SAAS platform, (software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which third–party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the internet. This app uses facial recognition software to provide first responders access to people’s emergency information to help resolve their issue.
  3.  Badge Watch – an application and portal that engenders accountability, transparency, ensures fairness for law enforcement officers and community by using real time feedback loops and a two– way officer evaluation system. Access the preliminary Badgewatcher app:

Durham Hackathon

Durham Hackathon was held April 7, 2018 at the North Carolina Central School of Law. Approximately 120 participants attended. Mediators were integrated as facilitators in the Durham Hackathon for the first time.

Mediators were an integral part of the small breakout teams where the participants developed ideas with technology and specific action–oriented solutions. Specifically, how community–level data collected from the Toolkit of apps (Miami and NY) can be utilized to track priority benchmarks to decrease the frequency of investigative stops lacking reasonable basis, decrease the confrontational and antagonistic police interactions, decrease illegal and discretionary arrests, and decrease in excessive use of force.

Winning Apps:

  1. Cuttlefish – a GPS enabled domestic violence incident reporting platform and mobile application with a hidden interface that connects with existing emergency response channels
  2.  R.U.N. – an open data platform that permits anonymous reporting of incidents of misconduct by and against law enforcement and the community at large as a crowd sourced pipeline for cases subject to further investigation and review by an independent oversight body.
  3. iTrust – an application that bolsters accountability and makes citizens feel safer by activating a proximity based sensory device to share body camera recordings to both drivers and law enforcement officers who initiate stops while also applying machine learning analysis to critical demographic identifiable information to gain insight on trends and prevent problematic future interactions.

Chicago Hackathon

Chicago JusticeHack was held on August 4, 2018 at The UIC-John Marshall Law School, as part of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. It attracted more than 100 registrants representing each of the desired stakeholder categories, including an impressive showing my local law enforcement.

The mediators from the Durham Hackathon were integrated into the ABA JusticeHack Chicago and explored methods of introducing binding training, assessment, and reporting processes that utilize data and address systemic change. Additionally, Chicago based mediators were recruited and trained to serve as facilitators.

Winning Apps:

  1. Safe Passages – provides an application, accessible on multiple devices (web, phone, wearable, etc.) to aid in the safe passage home for children. The app will provide a route, highlighted on a map, with hot spot notifications of hazards to avoid, and the ability to find shelter or report an incident.
  2. A.W.A.R.E (Accessible, Wearable, Active Real-time Expression) –an application that involves a wearable technology device for individuals with mental health, invisible disabilities & language challenges to reduce tension in interactions police.
  3. Exchange – a digital networking app designed to foster informal engagement (e.g. an online community) among members of the community and law enforcement. 

Demonstration Day and App Development

A Demonstration Day was held in Miami on July 25, 2019 with 275 participants from various sectors including technology and law enforcement. Through our contract with a third-party vendor, we developed prototypes for each of the winning Miami apps for evaluation and testing during the Miami Demonstration day. Although we were unable to secure local support for the Durham Demonstration Day as originally anticipated, COREJ’s contracted vendor agreed to develop skeleton prototypes from the winning Durham applications, based upon which more advanced applications can be developed. These are in development. The first skeleton app that is available is BadgeWatch, which can be found at This page will be updated with more early-phase apps as they become available. 

ABA JusticeHacks in the News: