Assessing the Assessments: Lessons from Early State Experiences In the Procurement and Implementation of Risk Assessment Tools

26 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2018 Last revised: 14 Dec 2018

See all articles by Christopher Bavitz

Christopher Bavitz

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Sam Bookman

Independent

Jonathan Eubank

Harvard Law School

Kira Hessekiel

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Vivek Krishnamurthy

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; University of Ottawa - Common Law Section; University of Ottawa - Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC); Harvard University - Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

This piece endeavors to provide context for state and local officials considering tasks around development, procurement, implementation, and use of risk assessment tools. It begins with brief case studies of four states that adopted (or attempted to adopt) such tools early on and describes their experiences. It then draws lessons from these case studies and suggests some questions that procurement officials should ask of themselves, their colleagues who call for the acquisition and implementation of tools, and the developers who create them. This paper concludes by examining existing frameworks for technological and algorithmic fairness. The authors offer a framework of four questions that government procurers should be asking at the point of adopting RA tools. That framework draws from the experiences of the states we study and offers a way to think about accuracy (i.e., the RA tool’s ability to accurately predict recidivism), fairness (i.e., the extent to which an RA tool treats all defendants fairly, without exhibiting racial bias or discrimination), interpretability (the extent to which an RA tool can be interpreted by criminal justice officials and stakeholders, including judges, lawyers, and defendants), and operability (the extent to which an RA tool can be administered by officers within police, pretrial services, and corrections).

Suggested Citation

Bavitz, Christopher and Bookman, Sam and Eubank, Jonathan and Hessekiel, Kira and Krishnamurthy, Vivek, Assessing the Assessments: Lessons from Early State Experiences In the Procurement and Implementation of Risk Assessment Tools (December 2018). Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2018-8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3297135 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3297135

Christopher Bavitz (Contact Author)

Berkman Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Sam Bookman

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Jonathan Eubank

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kira Hessekiel

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vivek Krishnamurthy

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

University of Ottawa - Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) ( email )

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law - Common Law
57 Louis Pasteur St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Harvard University - Carr Center for Human Rights Policy ( email )

Littauer-G-11G
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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