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November 17, 2017
Economic justice Algorithms Data weapons

Automating (In)justice: Policing and Sentencing in the Algorithm Age

The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world, and Black communities are disproportionately impacted by this mass incarceration. The disparities are staggering: although the majority of illegal drug users and dealers are white, three quarters of those imprisoned for these crimes have been Black or Latino (the New Jim Crow).Across the country, big data, algorithms, and predictive analytics play an increasingly prominent role in policing and sentencing. In theory, tools like predictive policing and risk-based sentencing reduce bias by replacing subjective judgments with hard data. In practice, these tools often perpetuate cycles of racism. In this session, we address the questions: How can we use data to fight racism in policing and in the courtroom? In a world where discrimination is automated, how do we hold algorithms accountable?

Moderator: Adam Foss

Participants: Samuel Sinyangwe, Julia Angwin, Charmaine Arthur, and Kim Foxx