Hack Cleveland's #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon

Blog Date
Stuart O. Smith, Jr.

Hack Cleveland's #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon
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Hack Cleveland is a working collective focused on advancing social justice through modeling our vision of an open, inclusive and affirming community. We envision a thriving city that is stronger from confronting and addressing systemic injustices and inequities both as a moral and economic imperative.

Frequently Asked Questions


Community-centered events organized by HackCLE that focus on confronting and addressing systemic injustices and inequities both as a moral and economic imperative for our city and beyond.


Hackathons join technologists (coders), artists (designers), and problem solvers (innovators) to brainstorm, design and build a web or mobile app that can change the world, create a business, or both. Definition thanks to Qeyno.


Scopeathons are akin to hackathons. However, the purpose of a scopeathon is to scope out problems, break the problems down into manageable parts, and develop a plan to address them. While traditional hackathons are often focused on creating a technical tool during the event, a scope-a-thon focuses on understanding the purpose and use of technology in helping solve problems.


Civic hacking is using technology and design to make where we live better.


I knew of Hack Cleveland from reading their @HackCleveland tweets, but I had never attended any of their events. When I read that the Hack Cleveland leadership team had scheduled a #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon for Friday evening, October 26, 2018, and Saturday, October 27, 2018, I signed up. I figured it was a good time to not only learn about the group, but also learn by participating in the methods they used to develop a social justice technology solution. I also liked the idea of a "Scope-A-Thon," with its emphasis on investing the time to find the right plan to succeed on the issue that would give the greatest benefit.

Here are some online resources that Hack Cleveland shared before the event, which provide some insight into what attendees were trying to accomplish:

Congratulations to the Hack Cleveland leadership team -- it was great to see via Twitter that #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon reached capacity and that they needed to create a waiting list. Here are my @sos_jr tweets and retweets that provided the background for the event:


Day One - #Fix216: Framing the Problem

Justin M. Bibb - Framing The Problem
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On Friday night, October 26, 2018, the Hack Cleveland leadership team did a great job of bringing focus to the issues that the teams were to examine, and provided some background information about the issues. We also learned that the work of this year's Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion artists (@CleveFoundation - #CreativeFusion) would be shared at the event.

See the tweets below that include images and background videos that I shared about the three issues on which we focused:

  1. Bail Reform

  2. Re-Entry Skills Alignment

  3. Collateral Consequences/Sanctions

Here are the two videos that were in the tweets:

Slavery to Mass Incarceration
Equal Justice Initiative
Published on Jul 7, 2015
The myth of racial difference created to sustain American slavery persists today. Slavery did not end in 1865, it evolved.

How Our Criminal Justice System Targets Communities

Published on Jun 8, 2016
Van Jones, author, political activist and commentator, talks to us about how the U.S. imprisons more people than any country, and how that's hurting our communities.


Day Two - #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon

#Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon
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On day two, Saturday, October 27, 2018, within our teams, we dove into the issues and developed presentations for potential solutions. Of the three topics, I was most interested in Re-Entry Skills Alignment, since I have always been interested in education and occupational training. Here is the fact sheet for Re-Entry Skills Alignment that has some important information about the subject.
Fix 216: Criminal Justice Reform Problem Statement fact sheet for Re-Entry Skills Alignment
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From my notes, here is an outline of the solutions ideas developed by each team:

  • Team #1 - Dealt with breaking down barriers between employers and people who are incarcerated that have employable skills.

  • Team #2 - Freedom Re-Entry Card and Portal.

  • Team #3 -Developed a solution to lower the economic and social impact of low-risk sex offenders in our community.

  • Team #4 - UnBail system to raise and distribute funds to compete with the bail bond system.

  • Team #5 (my team) - Career management system to be used both while incarcerated and after being released from prison.

The following tweets have more information about the day, and what was shared during the process of developing the team solutions:


The Winner Announced

I had to leave the #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon early to attend a great production of A Streetcar Named Desire at Rubber City Theatre (@RubberCityThea), so I missed the final winner announcement. Fortunately, @HackCleveland shared videos and the winning team's name on Twitter (open the first two tweets below to see the Twitter Periscope videos), so I learned that the team that developed "UnBail" was chosen.

I agree with the judges in picking the UnBail system. The team I served on, and most of the other teams, developed great ideas to improve the lives of the incarcerated individual. The UnBail system will do more than just that. If it is successful, it will cause a systematic disruption of the current bail system in Cleveland. It is this type of system-wide change that is the desired outcome of this Scope-A-Thon.


Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion 2018

Creative Fusion: Data Edition
Fall 2018

Hosted in partnership with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), Hack Cleveland (HackCLE), ThirdSpace Action Lab, and DigitalC, Creative Fusion: Data Edition brings together three international and five Cleveland-based artists to focus on new ways to use and visualize Greater Cleveland neighborhood data through art. The artists will challenge us to think differently about who we consider to be an artist, a data scientist and/or an activist.

As I mentioned above, the work of two Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion (@CleveFoundation - #CreativeFusion) artists was shared at the #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon event:

  • Myoyoung Kim (Seoul, Korea)

    Myoyoung Kim, a creator, designer, author and educator based in Seoul, Korea, is the CEO of Vice Versa Design Studio, Korea’s first design studio focused on infographics. Kim has worked with major clients including Samsung, GS Caltex, Shinhan Bank, Korean Broadcasting System and various South Korean governmental agencies. She is the author of the book “The Key to Make Everything Look Better Infographic,” one of the best-selling books in the design field. Kim is also a professor at Korean National University of Arts.


  • Alsino Skowronnek (Berlin, Germany)

    Alsino Skowronnek, a Berlin-based data designer and maker of visual things. A geographer by training, Skowronnek has worked for different organizations around the world on spreadsheets, maps and data visualization.


I was fortunate to be able to work with Alsino Skowronnek (@Alsinosko) at the event, since he was on my Scope-A-Thon team. On Friday night, he introduced me to Myoyoung Kim (@designerMYO), who is CEO of Vice Versa Design Studio. They both told me a little bit about their work, and I look forward to learning more at future events.

In addition to the Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion web page, you can learn about this year's artists in:

In addition to meeting Alsino Skowronnek and Myoyoung Kim at the Scope-A-Thon, earlier this year I met Malaz Elgemiabby (@El__Malaz). She is a Sudanese designer and architect, and a Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) 2018 Creative Fusion (#CreativeFusion) artist-in-residence, who spoke at the Friday night, September 28, 2018, PechaKucha Night Cleveland - Volume 32 (@PKNCLE - #PKNCLE32). (See my tweets about her talk.) Learn more about her The Orphanage Of Things in my blog post: PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 32 at Sachsenheim Hall

In 2016, I wrote two blog posts that show the work of the Cleveland Foundation Creative Fusion artists from that year:


Hack Cleveland Leadership Team and Sponsors

#Fix216 Leadership Team
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Thank you to the Hack Cleveland Leadership Team for not only making this event happen, but for your wise planning to have in place the action steps to support the projects as they move forward.

The Hack Cleveland Leadership Team members include:


#Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon Sponsors

The #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon would not have been possible without the following sponsors:


Post-Event Tweets

Here are some tweets about the #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon that I shared after the event:


The Next Step

Hack Cleveland

At the closing of #Fix216: Criminal Justice Reform Scope-A-Thon, it was announced that in addition to the prize money presented, additional resources will be provided to help move the UnBail system project forward. I recommend watching for updates and progress reports on the Hack Cleveland website and in the @HackCleveland tweets about the UnBail system and other projects they develop. Also, follow on Twitter the Hack Cleveland Leadership Team members that I listed above.

I look forward to watching the future work of Hack Cleveland, and commend its leaders for actively working to make a difference in our community.