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Event

Criminal Justice by Algorithm Part II

Pre-trial detention, sentencing and probation

Wednesday, 11 Nov 2020 16:00 - 17:30 GMT

Online

Criminal justice decisions are increasingly being influenced and even made by machine-learning algorithms and automated-decision making systems, sometimes referred to as “artificial intelligence”.  

Incredibly sensitive and important criminal justice decisions are being outsourced to predictive and risk-modelling systems used to assist and influence pre-trial detention, sentencing and probation decisions. These systems are widespread in the US, but pilots and operational uses are growing in Europe, particularly in the UK. 

These systems can influence whether people are held in detention awaiting trial or released, they can make the difference between a custodial sentence and conditional release and they can determine when a prisoner can be released from their sentence. 

These automated systems engage and infringe fundamental rights: the right to a fair trial, privacy and data protection rights, as well as discrimination based on race, socio-economic status or class, nationality and background. 

Our panel of experts talked about how these systems work and their fundamental flaws, where they are used, and the need for strong European legal protections and frameworks. 

Speakers include:

Pilar Weiss is the founder and Director of the Community Justice Exchange, a US non-profit. The Community Justice Exchange is a national hub for developing, sharing, and experimenting with tactical interventions, strategic organizing practices, and innovative organizing tools to end mass incarceration. They provide support to community-based organizations that are building a new vision of community justice through bottom-up interventions in the criminal legal and immigration detention systems. The Community Justice Exchange also hosts to the US National Bail Fund Network, a collaborative partnership for the 50+ community bail funds working across the country to end detention in both the criminal legal and immigration systems. 

Colin Doyle is a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. research examines how technological changes to criminal legal processes affect both the application and meaning of state and federal constitutional law. He has a particular focus on decisions at the margins of criminal law, including bail setting and fees and fines determinations. His research often explores how overlooked features of new technological processes can inform and challenge longstanding beliefs and practices within constitutional law, criminal law, and criminal procedure. 

Griff Ferris is a legal and policy officer at Fair Trials, working on the use of AI in criminal justice in Europe, among other areas. He has previously researched and investigated the use of algorithmic and automated decision-making systems in pre-trial detention, sentencing and probation in the UK.  

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