40 Pages Posted: 9 May 2016 Last revised: 23 Nov 2016
Date Written: May 9, 2016
Police in major metropolitan areas now use “predictive policing” technologies to identify and deter crime. The early successes of predictive policing have led a few prosecutor’s offices to adopt quasi-“predictive prosecution” strategies. Predictive prosecution involves the identification and targeting of suspects deemed most at risk for future serious criminal activity, and then the use of that information to shape bail determinations, charging decisions, and sentencing arguments. This type of “Moneyball” prosecution has begun in New York City and Chicago, and this essay addresses the promise and peril of this new technology.
This essay for the Wake Forest Law Review’s Symposium on “Implementing De-Incarceration Strategies: Policies and Practices to Reduce Crime and Mass Incarceration” addresses the emergence of predictive prosecution strategies. It suggests preliminary questions that prosecutors should ask before adopting a predictive prosecution system and examines how predictive prosecution might impact prosecutorial decision-making, prosecutorial role, and crime suppression priorities.
Keywords: predictive policing, predictive prosecution, prosecution, prosecutor, police, heat list, intelligence led prosecution
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