Amazon announced this morning that Iowa City is the winner of the company’s Dream Big Award as part of its City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge.

The City will receive $25,000 worth of cloud services to be used toward its Data-Driven Justice Initiative, which seeks to use data to identify people who would benefit from a pre-jail diversion program. Iowa City Police Officer David Schwindt was in Washington D.C. to accept the award on behalf of the City during the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit.

“We have anxiously been awaiting Amazon’s announcement after being named a top 5 finalist and we are thrilled,” Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly said. “This award from Amazon will help give us the tools we need to identify those who have complex needs and help keep them out of jail and the ER.”

The initiative aims to divert low-level offenders, who are living with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders, out of the criminal justice system. Using this data, local service providers would be able to provide pro-active mental health and substance abuse treatment that could reduce repeat offenses, while also decreasing incarceration and emergency medical service costs. 

The City is working with Johnson County and Shelter House on this ongoing initiative.

Amazon’s Dream Big Award is designed to help a city or school implement a great idea. 

Date of publication

Wednesday, June 14, 2017