Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Series

Columbia Law School

Law and Race

Prediction

Publication Year

Articles 1 - 4 of 4

Full-Text Articles in Law

Risk As A Proxy For Race: The Dangers Of Risk Assessment, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2015

Risk As A Proxy For Race: The Dangers Of Risk Assessment, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Actuarial risk assessment in the implementation and administration of criminal sentencing has a long history in this country – a long and fraught history. Today, many progressive advocates promote the use of actuarial risk assessment instruments as part of a strategy to reduce the problem of "mass incarceration." Former Attorney General Eric Holder has called on the U.S. Sentencing Commission to hold hearings to further consider the matter of risk assessment and prediction tools in sentencing and parole.

The objective – to reduce our massive over-incarceration in this country – is critical and noble. But risk assessment tools are simply the wrong ...


Risk As A Proxy For Race, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2010

Risk As A Proxy For Race, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Today, an increasing chorus argues that risk-assessment instruments are a politically feasible way to resolve our problem of mass incarceration and reduce prison populations. In this essay, I argue against this progressive argument for prediction: using risk-assessment tools to decrease prison populations would unquestionably aggravate the already intolerable racial imbalance in our prison populations and will not address the real source of mass incarceration, namely the admissions process. Risk has collapsed into prior criminal history, and prior criminal history has become a proxy for race. This means that using risk-assessment tools, even for progressive ends, is going to significantly aggravate ...


A Reader's Companion To Against Prediction: A Reply To Ariela Gross, Yoram Margalioth, And Yoav Sapir On Economic Modeling, Selective Incapacitation, Governmentality, And Race, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2007

A Reader's Companion To Against Prediction: A Reply To Ariela Gross, Yoram Margalioth, And Yoav Sapir On Economic Modeling, Selective Incapacitation, Governmentality, And Race, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

From parole prediction instruments and violent sexual predator scores to racial profiling on the highways, instruments to predict future dangerousness, drug-courier profiles, and IRS computer algorithms to detect tax evaders, the rise of actuarial methods in the field of crime and punishment presents a number of challenging issues at the intersection of economic theory, sociology, history, race studies, criminology, social theory, and law. The three review essays of "Against Prediction" by Ariela Gross, Yoram Margalioth, and Yoav Sapir, raise these challenges in their very best light. Ranging from the heights of poststructuralist and critical race theory to the intricate details ...


Against Prediction: Sentencing, Policing, And Punishing In An Actuarial Age, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2005

Against Prediction: Sentencing, Policing, And Punishing In An Actuarial Age, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Actuarial methods – i.e., the use of statistical rather than clinical methods on large datasets of criminal offending rates to determine different levels of offending associated with one or more group traits, in order to (1) predict past, present or future criminal behavior and (2) administer a criminal justice outcome – now permeates the criminal law and its enforcement. With the single exception of racial profiling against African-Americans and Hispanics, most people view the turn to the actuarial as efficient, rational, and wealth-maximizing. The fact is, law enforcement agencies can detect more crime with the same resources if they investigate citizens ...