Framework for Change

Community-led Standards for the Practice of Research and Advocacy​

The 3rd City Project is guided by individuals who know the criminal-legal system inside and out. Those selected to participate in this Community Advisory Board have spent years working in research, advocacy, and reform–many of whom bring lived experience with the system to the table. Click here, to learn more about our board members.

The following is the operational framework used by the 3rd City Project, its staff, and affiliates. These principles, decided jointly by the inaugural CAB, are the pillars of all future Third City research, communication, and advocacy practices. Together, they constitute the ethos of the 3rd City Project and reflect our commitment to advancing community-led solutions to improving carceral data transparency and developing ethical healthcare policies grounded in science.

Third City Data Collection
  1. Data should be collected from public records where possible and, when required to mitigate harm, the limited use of non-public records obtained through research agreements.
  2. Financial relationships with carceral agencies, with contractors who work exclusively with carceral agencies, and with funders will be avoided to safeguard the research’s integrity and minimize the harm perpetuated by the criminal-legal system.
Third City Data Storage
  1. Data should be stored in alignment with the most rigorous standards to protect the safety and dignity of impacted individuals through the entire project lifecycle.
  2. All storage protocols are reviewed by the Duke University IRB, and access is restricted to 3rd City Project employees and associates.
Third City Data Ownership
  1. No single person or entity maintains proprietorship over the data used by the 3rd City Project.
Third City Data Stewardship
  1. The development and use of carceral data are ethically fraught because such information arises from systems of violence and oppression.
  2. The use of this information is a solemn responsibility, and the organization will conduct research and advocacy in such a way as to reflect the injustices faced by each individual represented in the data.
  3. Ethical stewardship, therefore, requires making use of available data in a way that both reflects the expressed desires of the CAB and upholds scientific integrity.
Third City Ethical Data Analysis
  1. The 3rd City Project, and its affiliates, will use the minimum necessary information to achieve the research and advocacy goals of decarceration, data democratization, and promoting health justice.
  2. All information gathered in good faith should be used to inform advocacy that improves the lives and well-being of systems-impacted individuals.
  3. The Board will review projects case-by-case to ensure alignment with ethical research practices.
Third City Data Dissemination
  1. Data and analysis held by the 3rd City Project will be distributed to advance the shared interests of the organization, the CAB, and systems-impacted individuals and will share neither data nor analysis with carceral agencies.
  2. Ethical dissemination involves scrutinizing those who may have access to sensitive or identifying information and avoiding situations in which data or analysis may be used to perpetuate the harms of the criminal-legal system.
Third City Data-Driven Advocacy
  1. The 3rd City Project will use data and analysis to achieve organizational goals in conjunction with the voices of those with lived experiences.
  2. Publications will not be limited to the academy but may also include direct advocacy and collaborations with the lay press, and community organizations.