Algorithms and Criminal Justice

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a summary and general overview only. It is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. You should seek legal advice from a barrister or solicitor working in the area of criminal law before acting or relying on any of its content.

I read a fascinating article a few days back on the ABC (USA) website about the use of algorithms in USA courtrooms. The article spoke of a defendant appearing in a bails court for a possession of prohibited drug (cocaine). Apparently the presiding judge had regard to a computer algorithm in determining whether bail should be granted. The algorithm is capable of scanning and sorting through large sets of courtroom data to determine whether people are likely to abscond or commit further crimes.

Of course, the judge using it made it clear that the use of the algorithm was just one factor to be considered in a mix of several and that over-reliance could not be placed on any one tool.

Interesting stuff.

© 2017 Sebastian De Brennan. Barrister at Law