New Spring 2020 tPP Syllabus Available!

As the Prosecution Project has grown and changed, it has benefitted from utilizing the classroom. We have used the shared space as a laboratory, workshop, assembly line, and debate stage for developing our processes and concepts. Nearly each semester we have been able to host a twice a week class to get students in the same space working on tPP.

We are happy to share the Spring 2020 syllabus focused around advanced qualitative coding

To view Dr. Loadenthal’s past tPP syllabi focusing on advanced secondary research, project management and design, and analysis see:

 

Preparing a report for the US Army War College

In December 2019, tPP was contacted by an individual with the United States Army War College seeking assistance with data. This individual asked if we could provide a number of measures of criminal defendants in order to compare defendants with and without military histories.

After a few emails and a phone call to ensure we could deliver the desired analysis product, our team went to work and in a few days completed two reports: “Active duty vs. discharged veterans and international vs. domestic affiliation in the Prosecution Project (tPP) dataset & Veteran versus civilian comparisons in the Prosecution Project (tPP) dataset”. We are pleased to share these reports here for others to review.

The Prosecution Project team is happy to assist individuals and institutions when our data can be useful. If you have a query which could benefit from tPP data, please let us know!

tPP’s Research Showing Up in the News

We’re very pleased to see our past analysis mentioned in this recent article by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Republican death threats are undermining our democracy.

We’re always happy to work with journalists, academics, investigators, policy makers and practitioners who can make use of our data. Our goal remains the creation of a free, open source platform for knowledge construction, and until we’re able to make the entirety of the data set public, get in touch if we can be a resource.

USA Today cites tPP

We’re very proud to see that the amazing work of our student researchers was quoted today by USA Today in their article, “AOC says she gets death threats after organizations air ‘hateful messages’ about her”.

We hope to be a resource to media, policy makers, researchers and advocates in the years to come as our data set grows and improves!

Have a question we can answer, let us know?

So what do tPP team members do?

As we begin recruiting for the next class of tPP students, I have been receiving a lot of emails asking what exactly being part of the team entails. Well, in the fall, tPP will be ran through SJS497 where we will learn data science and methodology skillsets in the classroom each Tuesday, and then practice them in the classroom each Thursday. For example, on a Tuesday we may learn how to verify a newspaper story via locating and interpreting a criminal indictment, and on Thursday, use that approach to verify and complete various cases under analysis.

Throughout the semester we plan to cover a wide range of tasks, including but now limited to:

  • Coding cases: This is one of the main tasks of tPP. This involves studying a particular criminal case, collecting the necessary source documents (e.g. Case Docket, Indictment, Criminal Complaint, Plea Agreement, Sentencing Memorandum, newspaper article) and then translating these texts into codes from our code book. For a bizarre cartoon explaining Qualitative Coding, check this out. Like all tPP skills, this will be taught in class and then practiced in a workshop style
  • Checking, improving and verifying cases already in our system. This is especially important as cases change–defendants are sentenced, fugitives are captured and tried, and arrests continue to occur
  • Helping to identify new cases for inclusion through reviewing and monitoring services of the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, FBI and others.
  • ‘Scraping’ and ‘mining’ texts from large documents to help locate new cases for inclusion and to ensure all appropriate cases are counted
  • Evaluating cases marked for exclusion through investigating the facts of the cases and working them through a decision tree
  • Evaluating documents for accuracy, authenticity and reliability; rep-lacing poorly scoring sources with better sources
  • Reviewing the work of your fellow coders, providing peer-review and intercoder reliability and helping to refine the code book
  • Refining the data for analysis which involves ‘cleaning’ the data, shifting its format, exporting/importing and learning how to work with the materials in SPSS, R, Tableu, GIS and a variety of other tool suites.

So if this sounds like you, get in touch with us. Check out this post for information on SJS497 and the application process.

tPP’s brand new tri-fold pamphlet

Here at tPP, we believe in communicating. We want to be in communication with scholars, with journalists, with policy makers and anyone who would like to engage with complex questions. To that end, we have recently completed designing a tri-fold pamphlet in conjunction with Nando Zegarra, Kendall Erickson, and the folks at Miami University’s SLANT Marketing & Design.

We’ve already put these into the hands of a few noted scholars, a few students, and a reporter or two. We plan to use them to better communicate to students about the opportunities the project offers, and to make direct appeals to incoming students, and other prospective coders, analysts and team members.

To check it out, click here: tPP tri-fold pamphlet

tPP crunches the numbers for news report

In what we hope will be a recurring pattern, tPP was contacted by a reporter investigating threats against elected officials. Since we have a rather unique data set, we were able to provide the investigator with a quantitative breakdown of our relevant cases, as well as speak to him on the phone to provide context, background and help frame the data.

You can see the great reporting here: https://qz.com/1578862/arrests-for-death-threats-against-us-politicians-rose-in-2018/

You can also see the great findings and analysis report provided by tPP Steering Committee members Athena Chapekis and Lauren Donahoe here: tPP report on threatening public officials

tPP forms its Fall 2019 team!

Hello current & future tPP team members!
We are excited to announce that we will continue to build, refine and analyze the tPP data set this fall through a new course, SJS497, which Miami University students are welcome and encouraged to enroll in to serve on the project for the Fall 2019 semester.
This is a very exciting time to join the project as our completed case count nears 1,700, our first publications are about to come out, our Advisory Board forms, and our social media presence is getting more and more attention.
SJS497 (CRN:75594)…the class through which we’ll be running the Prosecution Project through for the Fall, will be held Tuesday and Thursdays, 10:05-11:25 in Upham Hall. You will need to register for the course to participate as part of the central coding, research and analysis team. If you plan to register for the class, you MUST get in contact with tPP’s Director, Dr. Loadenthal, and let him know. A few points of clarification:
  1. The class will be limited to 25 students, and with 20 students (as of 5 April) already asking to join, we are very encouraged. Soon we will be reaching out to invite applicants from Sociology/Criminology, pre-law, Political Science, International Studies, Global and Inter-Cultural Studies, and other programs. We expect these efforts to fill the remaining seats in the class. So if you are interested in the class, please let us know ASAP.
  2. If you have not been a part of the team in the past, you will need to complete the application online so we can see where best to place you in the project. The form should take less than 10 minutes and is available here: https://tpp.lib.miamioh.edu/want-to-join-the-team/. After completing the form, you’ll need to email your resume/CV to Dr. Loadenthal.
  3. We are also looking to recruit a small number of students for specific project roles. These students would not be expected to enroll in SOC497 but would instead work alongside the project Director via an Independent Study. If you have experience in any of the following areas and would like to take part in the project, contact Dr. Loadenthal
    • machine learning/Python
    • grant writing
    • mapping/GIS
    • database design (e.g. File Maker, SQL)
  4. If you use Twitter, please follow us (https://twitter.com/ProsecutionThe) so you can begin to see what types of cases make up the project. Casually following these updates between now and August will suit you well for engaging with tPP in the fall.
(our Spring 2019 team)