Predicting the Future: Using Risk Assessment for Criminal Sentencing

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It's often said that justice demands that the punishment fit the crime. Now judges in Pennsylvania may be passing sentence based on crimes that have not yet happened. The Pennsylvania legislature has voted that judges should use "risk assessment" in determining what a criminal sentence should be—basing punishment not on a crime that has been committed but on the likelihood that the same convict will commit another crime in the future. Ben Casselman is chief economics writer for FiveThirtyeight, working in collaboration with the Marshall Project.

Photo: Chris Yarzab




Warren Olney