How many innocent people should we be allowed to arrest and jail in order to prevent a single dangerous person from being free? The Supreme Court has refused to answer this question, but algorithms have, and many courts across the country are going with the algorithm.
At different stages of the criminal justice system, computerized risk-assessment algorithms are slowly replacing bail hearings in determining who goes to jail and who goes free. This is widely seen as progressive reform but may in fact be leading to more incarceration, not less. While many are warning that these algorithms are biased, racist, or based on bad data, the real problems are in fact much deeper, cutting to the most basic principles of morality in criminal justice.
Guest voices include Megan Stevenson, John Raphling , Renee Bolinger, Georgi Gardiner, and Seth Lazar.
In Slate Plus: Megan Stevenson talks about trying to assess whether the use of algorithms is an improvement over judges, and Seth Lazar talks about how we can make algorithms moral.
For all back episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 of Hi-Phi Nation, visit www.hiphination.org.