Launched in 2013 with a $15 million gift from the Frank and Denise Quattrone Foundation and Hollway at its helm, the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice is pioneering a systemic, data-driven approach to criminal justice reform. Its methods derive, in part, from W. Edwards Deming’s notion of a feedback loop of “continuous quality improvement.” Deming, an engineer and physicist turned management guru, introduced his techniques in Japan in the 1950s. They were adopted in the 1980s by the American automotive and aviation industries and, more recently, by the U.S. health care sector.
John Hollway, executive director of the Quattrone Center and associate dean at Penn’s Carey Law School, likes to point out that the initials “QC,” for Quattrone Center, also stand for “quality control.” The center’s tagline, he says, is “a systems approach to preventing errors in criminal justice.” Quattrone melds policy and practice, using one to inform the other. The center’s research on issues such as cash bail, pretrial detention, and the controversial police practice of “stop and frisk” have fueled litigation, legislation, and administrative reforms nationwide.
“Data can be connective,” Hollway says, bridging professional and ideological divides and fostering consensus.
Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, a Penn Law Distinguished Policy Fellow who cotaught the seminar “Policing in the 21st Century” with Hollway last spring, echoes that idea. Quattrone “can be a convener, they can bring a diverse group of people together to have real dialogue—not just shouting at each other,” he says.
In 2010, the year his book, “Killing Time: An 18-Year-Odyssey from Death Row to Freedom” (Skyhorse Publishing), was published, Hollway joined the advisory board of the Northern California Innocence Project, devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. But maybe, he was starting to think, the best solution wasn’t litigating individual cases. That process was riddled with uncertainties, consumed years, and cost millions in lawyers’ fees (or, in pro bono cases, unbilled time). What if it was possible to step back and examine the whole system, to see how such devastating mistakes could have occurred in the first place? And, by diagnosing the problems, fix them?
This story is by Julia M. Klein. Read more at The Pennsylvania Gazette.