I think governments are a really important part of our economy, important part of our society, it is clearly broken, we need to take responsibility for fixing it.
Code for America is doing a lot of that. One of the projects that we are working on this year described by this woman Anne Milgram as money-balling criminal justice, turns out that one of the biggest costs for cities is pre-trial incarceration.
This sort of prison industrial complex which profits from keeping people in jail, cities are really kind of stuck here because there is always fear mongering, who can you let out. And the bail system is really broken, it was originally designed to let out the petty criminals keep the big guys behind bars, but of course the big guys are profitable enough that the bail bondsman will put up a bond for them, the little guys can’t come up with the $500 bail and they end up rotting in jail, turns out you are more likely to actually be sent to jail if you come into your court appearance as a prisoner than if you come in from the outside, you lose your job because you’re held, all these kinds of things.
And in fact many of these people could be released on their own recognizance. This group called the Arnold Foundation has built a data model that actually helps to predict who is safe to let out and the project we are doing in New York City and Louisville is actually to apply that data model, build an app for judges and we will see how that works.
But the story that I wanted to share, the fellows just were out there and they were in Louisville, and the Louisville fellows as part of their, they kind of go to the city, they studied the problem, they got booked into jail.
And this is a really amazing story that they are being escorted to their cell because they’ve kind of gone through the whole process and some prisoner call us out, hey warden, who are your new friends? And she says these are the Code for America fellows.
And the guy, the young prisoner he says, oh my god, it’s the Code for America fellows, they are here to fix it, they are here to fix this and it was like, boy, what a burden, it’s like they kind of like, oh, crap, are we going to be able to do that.
But the fact that and he started telling him all things that had gone wrong during his, that’s so powerful when you can have that impact, there is so many problems where you have impact on people’s lives. So, anyway if any of you are interested go to codeforamerica.
org and look for the fellows application. There is also something called the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows, which is trying to do the same kind of thing at the federal level where they are looking for talented people to come work on problems of government.
So they are also in their application cycle right now. Finally, I think there’s a lot of huge opportunities in healthcare.