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Columbia Law School

Criminal Law

Racial profiling

Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Law

Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2012

Punitive Preventive Justice: A Critique, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

This book chapter critically examines punitive preventive measures, such as preventive detention for dangerous individuals, stop-and-frisks on the street, and order-maintenance policing. After reviewing the traditional concern expressed about punitive preventive practices, the chapter investigates the empirical evidence in support of such measures, concluding that the purported need for these measures is, on balance, factually overstated and generally unproven. But the empirical problems foreground a deeper theoretical difficulty with punitive preventive justice, namely that the modern approach to punitive prevention relies predominantly on economic cost-benefit analytic methods that effectively displace political debate and contestation. Like earlier punitive preventive interventions – such ...


Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

A string of recent studies has documented significant racial disparities in police stops, searches, and arrests across the country. The issue of racial profiling, however, did not receive national attention until the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., at his home in Cambridge. This raises three questions: First, did Sergeant Crowley engage in racial profiling when he arrested Professor Gates? Second, why does it take the wrongful arrest of a respected member of an elite community to focus the attention of the country? Third, why is racial profiling so pervasive in American policing?

The answers to these questions are ...


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 ...


Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling An Effective Counterterrorist Measure And Does It Violate The Right To Be Free From Discrimination?, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2006

Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling An Effective Counterterrorist Measure And Does It Violate The Right To Be Free From Discrimination?, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Racial profiling as a defensive counterterrorism measure necessarily implicates a rights trade-off: if effective, racial profiling limits the right of young Muslim men to be free from discrimination in order to promote the security and well-being of others. Proponents of racial profiling argue that it is based on simple statistical fact and represents just smart law enforcement. Opponents of racial profiling, like New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly, say that it is dangerous and just nuts.

As a theoretical matter, both sides are partly right. Racial profiling in the context of counterterrorism measures may increase the detection of terrorist ...


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 ...