Courts Data Analysis Pretrial and Bail June 25, 2020

The Present And Future Of AI In Pre-Trial Risk Assessment Instruments

Alexandra Chouldechova and Kristian Lum

From music and romantic partner recommendation, to medical diagnosis and disease outbreak detection, to automated essay scoring, “Artificial intelligence” (AI) systems are being used to tackle prediction, classification, and detection tasks that impact nearly every sphere of our lives. Since the fundamental task of pre-trial risk assessment instruments is one of prediction, we anticipate that the success of AI technology in these other domains will inspire an increase in the availability of AI-based pre-trial risk assessment instruments in the coming years. The purpose of this critical issue brief is primarily to equip practitioners considering adopting an AI-based pre-trial risk assessment tool to consider questions relevant to determining whether adopting such a system a will result in better predictions and ultimately move their jurisdiction towards fairer, more just and decarceral pre-trial decisionmaking that respects civil and human rights.

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