The Atlantic

Should We Be Afraid of AI in the Criminal-Justice System?

Many states and cities are putting Americans’ fates in the hands of algorithms.
Source: Joe Skipper / Reuters

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Rachel Cicurel, a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, was used to being outraged by the criminal-justice system. But in 2017, she saw something that shocked her conscience.

At the time, she was representing a young defendant we’ll call “D.” (For privacy reasons, we can’t share D’s name or the nature of the offense.) As the case approached sentencing, the prosecutor agreed that probation would be a fair punishment.

But at the last minute, the parties received some troubling news:

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