Use Of Risk Assessment In Criminal Justice Essay Samples
States have enlarged the use of data based information about criminals to identify the risk factors that influence the criminals to continue committing crimes, over the last ten years. Those factors are very carefully weighted and used to predict the risk (high, low, medium) of the violators to commit a crime again. Those ranking help the judges, parole officers and correction officials to determine how long a convict should stay in jail.
In reality, every state has used the risk assessments to vary degrees in registered crimes over the last ten years. Some of the states have made them mandatory for sentencing and corrections as a way to cut recidivism and save tax payers’ money.
The Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his concerns that if that practice is broadly used, it could have an incommensurable and adverse impact on the minorities, socially disadvantaged and the poor. He presented his concerns against the broad use of data-driven programs in Washington on July 15, 2014 during the event of celebration the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in Howard University and laid out his position in an interview for TIME magazine on July 29, 2014. According to his statement the risk assessment data could be very successfully used referring drug addiction or criminal history, tracking trends or to reduce incarceration as a whole, but it will widen the established link between socio-economic status, race and incarceration. Nowadays the number of black men incarcerated is six times higher than the number of white men. The next delicate topic, besides the race issue is the educational level. In his interview Holder says that using information about educational level and employment “will benefit those on the white collar side who may have advanced degrees, and who may have done greater societal harm”. (Massimo Colabresi, TIME, Exclusive: Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose data-driven sentences. July 31, 2014)
At the same time a low risk offender, awaiting his trial, sitting in jail because he has not the money to pay his bail or receive a good lawyer who will state before the Judge that this client is not of a flight risk. The question is does the use of data-driven sentencing brings fame to a broken system which can be reformed to avoid such errors.
The mixture of “big data”, attorneys and brilliant advocates who understand the benefits and perils of statistical analysis can reduce the inequalities in the justice system.
Devlin Barret, Holder Cautions on Risk of Bias in Big Data Use in Criminal Justice, Web http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-attorney-general-cautions-on-risk-of-bias-in-big-data-use-in-criminal-justice-1406916606
Massimo Calabresi, Exclusive: Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose data-driven sentencing,
TIME, July 31, 2014, Web