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

University of Chicago Press, 15. sep. 2008 - 264 sider

From random security checks at airports to the use of risk assessment in sentencing, actuarial methods are being used 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 minorities 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 alternate 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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1 Actuarial Methods in the Criminal Law
Part I The Rise of the Actuarial Paradigm
Part II The Critique of Actuarial Methods
Part III Toward a More General Theory of Punishing and Policing
Appendix A
Appendix B

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Side iv - Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago. The instant volume is a revised and expanded version of the Thomas M. Cooley Lectures presented at the University of Michigan Law School in March 1974. 2. "Again
Side 15 - The agent testified that the respondent's behavior fit the so-called "drug courier profile" — an informally compiled abstract of characteristics thought typical of persons carrying illicit drugs. In this case the agents thought it relevant that (1) the respondent was arriving on a flight from Los Angeles, a city believed by the agents to be the place of origin for much of the heroin brought to Detroit; (2) the respondent was the last person to leave the plane, "appeared to be very nervous...
Side 312 - Yet shun their fault, who, scandalously nice, Will needs mistake an author into vice ; All seems infected that th' infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundic'd eye.

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Om forfatteren (2008)

Bernard E. Harcourt is professor of law and director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing and Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy.

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