As with most new things, the big data revolution in criminal justice has historic antecedents—indeed, a 1965 Presidential Commission called for some of the same data analysis that police departments and courts are today developing and implementing. But there is no doubt we are on the precipice of a criminal justice data revolution, and it is a good time to take stock and to begin developing guidelines so that, as much as possible, criminal justice systems might reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of this newly data-centric world. In that spirit, I propose nine high-level standards to guide criminal justice big data implementations.
Rule One: Bring Technology to the Problem
Rule Two: Bring Only Credible Technology to the Problem
Rule Three: The Decider Should Be Human
Rule Four: The Code and Decision Algorithm Should Be Accessible (Though Not Necessarily Public) But the Decision Algorithm Need Not Be Humanly Comprehensible
Rule Five: Any Technology Implementation Should Balance Costs and Benefits
Rule Six: Any Proposal for Privacy-Based Restriction on Government Technology Should Consider Non-Government Use
Rule Seven: Any Claim to First Amendment Rights in Consumer Data, Algorithms, or Algorithmic Results Should Be Opposed
Rule Eight: Any Significant Technology Implementation Should Proceed Only With Public Notice and Comment
Rule Nine: Most Decisions Should Be Made by the States
Read the full article – Henderson, Stephen E., A Few Criminal Justice Big Data Rules (2017). Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Forthcoming.