Instant Insights / The United States of Risk Assessment: The Machines Influencing Criminal Justice Decisions

The United States of Risk Assessment: The Machines Influencing Criminal Justice Decisions


Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Much of the public awareness that criminal justice decisions are being influenced by risk assessment tools started with an instrument called the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS). A 2016 investigation by ProPublica found that the artificial intelligence-based tool, which several U.S. jurisdictions use to determine a defendant’s or convicted offender’s risk to reoffend and factors contributing to that risk, was biased against African Americans.

The company that owns the tool, Equivant (formerly Northpointe), disputed the finding, citing research from independent academic studies that showed otherwise. What followed was a surge of ongoing research and debate over the impartiality, effectiveness and limits of COMPAS and other risk and needs assessment (RNA) tools, and the role they should play in the criminal justice system.

Rhys Dipshan

CT-born, New York-based legal tech reporter covering everything from in-house technology disruption to privacy trends, blockchain, AI, cybersecurity, and ghosts-in-the-machine. Continually waiting for law to catch up with tech. (It's like waiting for Godot, but without the clowns)

More from this author

Victoria Hudgins

I am a reporter for Legaltech News, where I cover national and international cyber regulations and legal tech innovations and developments.

More from this author

Frank Ready

Frank Ready is a reporter on the tech desk at ALM Media. He can be reached at [email protected]

More from this author

General Counsel Summit (GCS) 2020Event

General Counsel Summit is the premier event for in-house counsel, hosting esteemed legal minds from all sectors of the economy.

Get More Information

General Counsel Conference 2020Event

General Counsel Conference addresses trends in regulatory, data protection, tech management, legal operations, and leadership.

Get More Information

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.