Bias In Criminal Risk Scores Is Mathematically Inevitable, Researchers Say

An analysis of bias against black defendants in criminal risk scores has prompted research showing that the disparity can be addressed — if the algorithms focus on the fairness of outcomes.

An inmate stands at his cell door at the maximum security facility at the Arizona

The racial bias that ProPublica found in a formula used by courts and parole boards to forecast future criminal behavior arises inevitably from the test’s design, according to new research. The findings were described in scholarly papers published or circulated over the past several months. Taken together, they represent the most far-reaching

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The Wheels Of Justice Won’t Budge For A Scottish Woman Killed In Israel

The case of Julie Pearson is bigger than the death of one woman and her family’s ongoing struggle for justice. It’s a lens through which to view larger institutional and cultural failings that allow violence against women to go unpunished almost as a matter of routine in Israel.

Julie Pearson was found dead in Israel last November, allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend. Her family in Scotland has waited, with increasing frustration, for the creaky wheels of Israeli justice to turn for Julie. This week marks the one-year anniversary of her tragic death.

SEATTLE --- When you’ve studied the Israeli-Arab conflict for as many decades and from as long a geographical distance as I have, you tend to emphasize major events and phenomena: the Occupation, wars, armies, Zionism, Palestinian nationalism, etc. It seems only natural to focus mainly on the Big Picture. Of course, the real tragedy is writ

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What Algorithmic Injustice Looks Like In Real Life

A computer program rated defendants’ risk of committing a future crime. These are the results.

Bernard Parker, who was rated high by the COMPAS program. (Josh Ritchie/Propublica)

Courtrooms across the nation are using computer programs to predict who will be a future criminal. The programs help inform decisions on everything from bail to sentencing. They are meant to make the criminal justice system fairer — and to weed out human biases. ProPublica tested one such program and found that it’s often wrong — and biased

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Will Tough Economy Be The Downfall Of The Private Prison Industry?

A new report details how the private prison industry is responsible for the large number of Americans living behind bars.

The hacktivist group Anonymous released a 40-page report on Tuesday detailing how and why the private prison industry should be held responsible for the large number of Americans living behind bars. While the report acknowledges that the increase in the number of prisoners in the U.S. is tied to the launch of Richard Nixon’s war on drugs in the

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The Imprisonable Class And The Crisis Of American Criminal Justice

While Americans might assume by default that police states only exist in strange, faraway countries, there’s plenty in our broken system that rivals the Gulag.

When Americans think of police states they often envision an authoritarian country like North Korea, the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. The very phrase conjures up images of men in dark uniforms breaking down doors in the middle of the night so as to catch unawares enemies of the ruling regime. It evokes the idea of a vast, unaccountable police

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