Doing legwork, doing justice
Apr 15, 2013
The New York Times brought attention to the Bronx courtrooms this weekend. (link) The following small-multiples chart effectively illustrates how the Bronx system is uniquely unproductive, compared to the other boroughs:
The above chart shows the outcomes. The next chart shows the possible cause.
It appeared that at any time of the day, at least one-third of the courtrooms are not actively conducting business. In fact, outside of the period between 10:30 and 12:30, and 2:30, less than half of the courtrooms have a judge present.
I want to draw your attention to the caption below the chart. It said: "The Times visited all 47 courtrooms at the Bronx County Hall of Justice in 30-minute intervals totally how many were open and actively in session, ..."
Too often, we analyze and plot whatever data has been collected conveniently by some machine. Such data frequently do not address the questions we'd like to answer. We let the data dictate our research question.
Most great work in statistics come from people who put in the effort to define their research goals first, and then manually collect the specific data needed to accomplish those goals.
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