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Race, Ethnicity, and PolicingNew and Essential Readings$
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Stephen K. Rice and Michael D. White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814776155

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814776155.001.0001

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Moving Beyond Profiling

Moving Beyond Profiling

The Virtues of Randomization

(p.505) Chapter 22 Moving Beyond Profiling
Race, Ethnicity, and Policing

Bernard E. Harcourt

NYU Press

This concluding chapter argues that the common actuarial tools used by researchers in predicting future dangerousness/violations are counterproductive. Throughout their use of strategies such as racial profiling, the researchers themselves produce racial distortion in the prison system. The findings unfortunately diverge from effective crime prevention philosophies, and bias the public's conception of fair and just punishment. The primary means through which racial distortion emanates, the chapter explains, is when a profiled group is less elastic or less responsive to policing. The chapter calls for an embrace of randomization by making justice determinations independent (blind) to predictions of future dangerousness. This orientation simply means that criminal justice should get out of the business of making decisions based on (highly imperfect, and counterproductive) predictions of future dangerousness, and instead (for example) randomly sample from among suspects where there is probable cause.

Keywords:   actuarial tools, criminal justice, future dangerousness, violations, racial profiling, racial distortion, crime prevention, randomization, justice determinations

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