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Tue May 24, 2016, 08:54 PM

 

There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks

Machine Bias

https://www.propublica.org/article/machine-bias-risk-assessments-in-criminal-sentencing

N A SPRING AFTERNOON IN 2014, Brisha Borden was running late to pick up her god-sister from school when she spotted an unlocked kid’s blue Huffy bicycle and a silver Razor scooter. Borden and a friend grabbed the bike and scooter and tried to ride them down the street in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Coral Springs.

Just as the 18-year-old girls were realizing they were too big for the tiny conveyances — which belonged to a 6-year-old boy — a woman came running after them saying, “That’s my kid’s stuff.” Borden and her friend immediately dropped the bike and scooter and walked away. But it was too late — a neighbor who witnessed the heist had already called the police. Borden and her friend were arrested and charged with burglary and petty theft for the items, which were valued at a total of $80.

Compare their crime with a similar one: The previous summer, 41-year-old Vernon Prater was picked up for shoplifting $86.35 worth of tools from a nearby Home Depot store.

Prater was the more seasoned criminal. He had already been convicted of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, for which he served five years in prison, in addition to another armed robbery charge. Borden had a record, too, but it was for misdemeanors committed when she was a juvenile.

Yet something odd happened when Borden and Prater were booked into jail: A computer program spat out a score predicting the likelihood of each committing a future crime. Borden — who is black — was rated a high risk. Prater — who is white — was rated a low risk.

Two years later, we know the computer algorithm got it exactly backward. Borden has not been charged with any new crimes. Prater is serving an eight-year prison term for subsequently breaking into a warehouse and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics.

Scores like this — known as risk assessments — are increasingly common in courtrooms across the nation. They are used to inform decisions about who can be set free at every stage of the criminal justice system, from assigning bond amounts — as is the case in Fort Lauderdale — to even more fundamental decisions about defendants’ freedom. In Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, the results of such assessments are given to judges during criminal sentencing.




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Reply There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks (Original post)
AntiBank May 2016 OP
SusanCalvin May 2016 #1
AntiBank May 2016 #2
Number23 May 2016 #3
MrScorpio May 2016 #4

Response to AntiBank (Original post)

Tue May 24, 2016, 09:28 PM

1. I was just watching a local story on this.

Supposed to keep people from languishing in jail for lack of bail, but not much good if it's too biased to accurately predict.

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Response to SusanCalvin (Reply #1)

Tue May 24, 2016, 09:33 PM

2. Federal lawsuits, class actions, need to beat this down

 

It's crazy how impactful in a negative way it is.

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Response to AntiBank (Original post)

Tue May 24, 2016, 09:41 PM

3. Machines are only as good as their makers

Thanks for posting.

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Response to Number23 (Reply #3)

Sat May 28, 2016, 01:33 PM

4. Programming endemic American anti-black bias into the works nt

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