Can We Shrink Prison Population with Big Data?

Posted: July 2, 2016 by Nazim in Sentencing

“In a time when Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to agree on anything, prison reform has become an unlikely unifier. Recently, House speaker Paul Ryan has become an outspoken advocate for sentencing reform. That type of across-the-aisle support could help these data efforts spread more quickly. Already, among the seven states that signed on to the Data-Driven Justice Initiative, three have Republican governors. As part of the commitment, they promise to merge criminal justice and health system data to identify people who are most at risk, create new protocols for first responders dealing with mental health issues, and inform pre-trial release decisions.”

“Of course, using technology to decide whether someone stays behind bars or not is sure to be fraught with controversy as these programs roll out all over the country. After all, if people are concerned about algorithms deciding the news they see, what happens when algorithms decide a person’s freedom?”

The problem is whether the companies contributing their algorithms are willing to have them scrutinized by the defense bar. After all, sentencing determinations are open for argument.

Source: Wired

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