Using Risk Assessment to Sentence Before the Crime: A Possibility in Pennsylvania

August 4, 2015 | by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Ben Casselman, and Dana Goldstein | The Marshall Project

sciencesentence

The controversial proposal to use risk assessment in sentencing may become a reality as soon as next year in Pennsylvania. Risk assessment tools have been used for decades to try to predict recidivism, set bail, and more, by using statistical probabilities based on age, employment history and prior criminal record. Using risk assessment to determine sentences, however, would be a new process that has people divided as long-held concerns over bias and disparities arise.

The controversial proposal to use risk assessment in sentencing may become a reality as soon as next year in Pennsylvania. Risk assessment tools have been used for decades to try to predict recidivism, set bail, and more, by using statistical probabilities based on age, employment history and prior criminal record. Using risk assessment to determine sentences, however, would be a new process that has people divided as long-held concerns over bias and disparities arise. Read more about the controversy here.