Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Use of Sentencing Algorithms, But Recognizes Risks

The Wisconsin Supreme Court this week rejected a challenge to the use of a risk-assessment algorithm in a sentencing proceeding. These algorithms score an individual's risk of committing future crime. The Court sanctioned the use of such algorithms, provided they are not the exclusive determining factor of a sentence, and judges receive written warnings about the algorithm's shortcomings. Professor Danielle Citron warned that the court's faith in the secret techniques is "unwarranted" particularly because "human beings have a tendency to rely on automated decisions even when they suspect system malfunction." EPIC has advocated for algorithmic transparency and maintains a website describing the use of algorithms in the criminal justice system.


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