U.S. Justice Department eyes changes to its risk assessment tool

As reported by NPR, the Justice Department (DOJ) is looking to reduce racial disparities in a tool it uses to assess a prisoner’s risk of a return to crime, after scholars and justice advocates pressed for change.

Among other steps, it plans to make tweaks that would significantly increase the number of Black and Hispanic men in prison who are eligible to take educational classes or work-life programs that could lead to an earlier release.

The tool, known as Pattern, has long been criticized for its racial bias. See this article, for example: Flaws plague a tool meant to help low-risk federal prisoners win early release. In this latest effort to overhaul the troubled risk assessment algorithm, the Justice Department said it is still unable to resolve other racial disparities.


[ View NPR article ]