Download Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an by Bernard E. Harcourt PDF

By Bernard E. Harcourt

From regimen protection tests at airports to using hazard review in sentencing, actuarial tools are getting used greater than ever to figure out whom police officers objective and punish. And apart from racial profiling on our highways and streets, most folk desire those equipment simply because they suspect they’re a less costly approach to struggle crime.In opposed to Prediction, Bernard E. Harcourt demanding situations this starting to be reliance on actuarial tools. those prediction instruments, he demonstrates, may possibly in truth bring up the final volume of crime in society, looking on the relative responsiveness of the profiled populations to heightened safety. they might additionally worsen the problems that minorities have already got acquiring paintings, schooling, and a greater caliber of life—thus perpetuating the trend of felony habit. finally, Harcourt indicates how the perceived good fortune of actuarial equipment has began to distort our very notion of simply punishment and to imprecise exchange visions of social order. as opposed to the actuarial, he proposes as an alternative a flip to randomization in punishment and policing. The presumption, Harcourt concludes, could be opposed to prediction. (20060828)

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Extra info for Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age

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It is, in this sense, an internal critique of the rational-choice argument for using actuarial methods. Naturally, many are skeptical of the rational abilities of criminal offenders, especially when they act in the heat of passion or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To many readers, the very premise of rationality may be questionable and the entire discussion of elasticities—of the responsiveness of individuals to police profiling—may sound off the mark. But this is only the first argument, one that is specifically addressed to a rational-choice perspective.

It is, in this sense, an internal critique of the rational-choice argument for using actuarial methods. Naturally, many are skeptical of the rational abilities of criminal offenders, especially when they act in the heat of passion or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To many readers, the very premise of rationality may be questionable and the entire discussion of elasticities—of the responsiveness of individuals to police profiling—may sound off the mark. But this is only the first argument, one that is specifically addressed to a rational-choice perspective.

As Freund, Pound, and their colleagues explained, “This truth [the statistical laws of criminality] opens up a vast field for re-examination. . And it means that the effect of different methods of treatment, old or new, for different kinds of men and of causes, must be studied, experimented and compared. ” 34 The development and refinement of criminology in the nineteenth century fueled the movement toward individualized punishment, which in turn energized the actuarial impulse. The individualization movement, in sum, rested on a probabilistic model that attempted to predict the likely success of different treatment interventions on the basis of inferences from an accumulation of data points about a particular individual.

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