Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age / Edition 1

Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age / Edition 1

by Bernard E. Harcourt
     
 

From routine security checks at airports to the use of risk assessment in sentencing, actuarial methods are being employed more than ever to determine whom law enforcement officials target and punish. And with the exception of racial profiling on our highways and streets, most people favor these methods because they believe they’re a more cost-effective way

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Overview

From routine security checks at airports to the use of risk assessment in sentencing, actuarial methods are being employed more than ever to determine whom law enforcement officials target and punish. And with the exception of racial profiling on our highways and streets, most people favor these methods because they believe they’re a more cost-effective way to fight crime.

            In Against Prediction, Bernard E. Harcourt challenges this growing reliance on actuarial methods. These prediction tools, he demonstrates, may in fact increase the overall amount of crime in society, depending on the relative responsiveness of the profiled populations to heightened security. They may also aggravate the difficulties that profiled persons already have obtaining work, education, and a better quality of life—thus perpetuating the pattern of criminal behavior. Ultimately, Harcourt shows how the perceived success of actuarial methods has begun to distort our very conception of just punishment and to obscure alternative visions of social order. In place of the actuarial, he proposes instead a turn to randomization in punishment and policing. The presumption, Harcourt concludes, should be against prediction.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226316147
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
01/01/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue
Chapter 1. Actuarial Methods in the Criminal Law
 
Part I. The Rise of the Actuarial Paradigm
Chapter 2. Ernest W. Burgess and Parole Prediction
Chapter 3. The Proliferation of Actuarial Methods in Punishing and Policing
 
Part II. The Critique of Actuarial Methods
Chapter 4. The Mathematics of Actuarial Prediction: The Illusion of Efficiency
Chapter 5. The Ratchet Effect: An Overlooked Social Cost
Chapter 6. The Pull of Prediction: Distorting Our Conceptions of Just Punishment
 
Part III. Toward a More General Theory of Punishing and Policing
Chapter 7. A Case Study on Racial Profiling
Chapter 8. Shades of Gray
Chapter 9. The Virtues of Randomization
 
Acknowledgments
Appendix A: Retracing the Parole-Prediction Debate and Literature
Appendix B: Mathematical Proofs Regarding the Economic Model of Racial Profiling
Notes
References
Index

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