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Columbia Law School

Criminal Law

Criminal justice

2005

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 ...