These algorithms are quickly replacing human judgment in the criminal justice system, promising everything from effective policing to solving the problem of mass incarceration. There are a lot of technical and social criticism about their implementation, with pessimists pointing out that they reinforce class and racial bias in the justice system, and optimists claiming that they can correct for human error and prejudice in ways humans never could. The moral questions underlying criminal justice algorithms are much deeper. Algorithms in criminal justice are meant to predict the unknown, including future crimes, and direct the state to intervene in punitive ways to prevent such crimes. But what are the moral rules that govern how far we can go to prevent predicted wrongdoing?
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