In an ambitious attempt to test whether its Public Safety Assessment tool can help judges predict which defendants can be safely released before trial, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation has announced a major research and training program to make it available in 200 new jurisdictions. Ten states or counties will be selected to participate in a guided implementation of the program.
In Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report,” criminals could be identified before they committed a crime. Computer-generated risk algorithms used by courts to determine whether individuals should be released ahead of trial have brought us a step closer to that world–and our challenge is to use them responsibly, says a George Mason University professor.
Tools that use algorithms to determine whether to detain accused individuals before a trial are increasingly being used across the country as an alternative to the bail system. But the vice president of the Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys argues that the tools also lead to tragedies.