Algorithmic Incarceration

Title: In a City Where 15 Percent of Voters Elected the Major, Downton Is Claiming Power 


Reputability statement: Next City is a national, nonprofit magazine that focuses on urban affairs. 


Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that allows predictive sentencing by zip code, calling it at actuarial tool. As a result, the sentence one recieves for a crime may change depending where one lives. People argue that Pennsylvania's algorithim will penalize urban residents, who are more likely to be black. First, I think that adjusting punishments based on one's zip code is extremely unethical. Furthermore, I think that the fact that an algorithim is helping faciliate these decisions rather than a person eliminates the bias or discrimination typically associated with criminal punishments. However, it just as bad, or maybe, even worse. A seperate analysis of Florida's algorithim to forecast crime wrongly labeled black residents as future criminals at twice the rate than those of white residents. This analysis demonstrates that algorithims are not sophicasted enough to identify high risk individuals, especially in the context of crime. Furthermore, these are the systematically biased algorithms that are shaping the lives of the people currently living in Pennsylvania.