Pennsylvania to Become First State to Use “Precrime” Statistics in Criminal Sentencing

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
By Paul Martin

Michael Krieger
LibertyBlitzkrieg.com
Tuesday Aug 4, 2015

Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, judges could soon consider a new dimension: the future.

Pennsylvania is on the verge of becoming one of the first states in the country to base criminal sentences not only on what crimes people have been convicted of, but also on whether they are deemed likely to commit additional crimes. As early as next year, judges there could receive statistically derived tools known as risk assessments to help them decide how much prison time — if any — to assign.

– From the Five Thirty Eight article: Should Prison Sentences Be Based On Crimes That Haven’t Been Committed Yet?

As technology generally continues to advance, one thing you can be sure of is the criminal justice system’s use of innovative new “tools” will grow exponentially. This can be a good thing, but it can also be a very dangerous thing. Pennsylvania’s new law that permits the use of data showing whether people are “deemed likely to commit additional crimes” in criminal sentencing, is a perfect example of how an over reliance on technology can be a threat to liberty and due process.

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