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Algorithm use in the criminal justice system report

4 June 2019

The criminal justice system plays a vital role in society; it must be able to command the trust and confidence of all those who interact with it.

Increasingly algorithms also play a vital role, from everyday purchasing decisions through to the administration of justice. They have the potential to deliver significant benefits to individuals and communities, but this should not be taken for granted. An uncritical reliance on technology could lead to wrong decisions that threaten human rights and undermine public trust in the justice system. Within the right framework, however, algorithmic systems can deliver a range of benefits, such as efficiency, efficacy, auditability, and consistency.

The Technology and Law Public Policy Commission was created to explore the role of, and concerns about, the use of algorithms in the justice system. It held four public evidentiary sessions, interviewed over 75 experts, and read over 82 submissions of evidence and many more supplementary studies, reports and documents on the topic.

This report contains findings and recommendations concerning the use of algorithmic systems in the criminal justice system. We believe that the recommendations in this report present a practical and workable step in the right direction.

Interactive map

We have created an interactive map on the use of algorithms in the criminal justice system.

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