Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Ruling on Bail Instructive Re: Algorithms & Criminal Justice
Berkman Center Newsfeed 2017-09-06
Chris Bavitz notes how a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling might impact the use of algorithms in criminal justice
Chris Bavitz notes the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s recent ruling in Brangan v. Commonwealth concerning the process of making bail determinations in Massachusetts, and how it might impact the use of algorithms in criminal justice.
If we are going to allow algorithms to play a role in certain aspects of the bail determination process, it is vitally important that we understand and make clear: (a) which questions those algorithms are helping to answer; (b) on what data sets those algorithms draw in reaching their conclusions; and (c) at what stages of a given legal analysis the outcomes prescribed by those algorithms may be relevant.
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