Racial Equity in Algorithmic Criminal Justice
56 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2018 Last revised: 27 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 20, 2018
Algorithmic tools for predicting violence and criminality are increasingly used in policing, bail, and sentencing contexts. Although some attention has been given to their procedural due process implications, how these instruments interact with the enduring and complex racial legacies of the criminal justice system is presently not well understood. This Article analyzes the questions of racial equity raised by these new predictive instruments using two lenses: constitutional doctrine and emerging technical standards of “algorithmic fairness.” I demonstrate that constitutional doctrine is poorly adapted to addressing the range of racial issues that potentially arise with algorithmic criminal justice. Instead, I demonstrate that the difficult questions of racial equity in this domain are best framed and evaluated though certain, but not all, emerging technical standards of algorithmic fairness.
Keywords: Machine learning; criminal justice; racial equality
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