Credits to
Diana Zingales

Risk assessment: a new challenge for Criminal Justice?

Future criminal behavior under algorithmic examination of the likelihood in the American experience

Issue 12/2021

Abstract. Why should the legislator rentrust to an algorithmic system the assessment of the dangerousness of the defendant? What are the perspectives of neutrality and accuracy that an output promises in “predicting” the risk of recidivism? What limits will Criminal Law establish to the technological evolution represented by AI-based risk assessment tools? The outcomes produced by the use of these tools in the American criminal law system offer the fundamental answers to such questions, whose will be convenient to be aware of, if and when, in Italy as well, we will manage these “predictive systems” as innovative as opposing to the constitutional principles which protect the defendant.

SUMMARY: 1. Criminal risk assessment in the modern era: algorithms and risk prediction. – 2. California chooses to limit the use of algorithmic risk assessment tools: the eloquent outcome of Proposition 25 on the cash bail replacement by pretrial risk assessment tools. – 3. The First Step Act and the new recidivism risk assessment system of the Department of Justice: PATTERN. – 4. The hidden dangers of risk assessment tools in the light of the Due process clause. – 5. The trends of the American jurisprudence and the solutions proposed by scholars to use AI-based risk assessment tools in compliance with the Due Process Clause.

This article was submitted for evaluation by two expert reviewers, with a positive outcome.


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