Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law

Publication Date

2018

Page Number

583

Keywords

risk assessment, sentencing, actuarial prediction, discrimination

Disciplines

Criminal Law | Law

Abstract

Risk assessment — measuring an individual’s potential for offending — has long been an important aspect of criminal justice, especially in connection with sentencing, pretrial detention and police decision-making. To aid in the risk assessment inquiry, a number of states have recently begun relying on statistically-derived algorithms called “risk assessment instruments” (RAIs). RAIs are generally thought to be more accurate than the type of seat-of-the-pants risk assessment in which judges, parole boards and police officers have traditionally engaged. But RAIs bring with them their own set of controversies. In recognition of these concerns, this brief paper proposes three principles — the fit principle, the validity principle, and the fairness principle — that should govern risk assessment in criminal cases. After providing examples of RAIs, it elaborates on how the principles would affect their use in sentencing and policing. While space constraints preclude an analysis of pretrial detention, the discussion should make evident how the principles would work in that setting as well.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.