12th May 2020

12-month recap: Automation in the US Criminal System


Next up in our #MinistryOfTechnocracy mini-series blog we take a look at how automation has revolutionised the US criminal system over over the past 12 months.

Technology is becoming more commonplace in industries that traditionally used manual techniques to operate effectively - such as the US criminal system.

Chris Moore Client Services Specialist

Automation in the US Criminal System

In the U.S. today, 1 in 3 people have a criminal record that appears on a routine background check. That means that 70 to 100 million people are left out of the workforce, unable to get student loans, housing and face a host of other obstacles to living a self-sustaining life, even though they have paid their dues to society.

In 2016, Clear My record was launched as a service for people who wanted a clean slate. But the process was a manual one and due to the size and demand, it became apparent that the tools the government had in place weren’t adequate to deal with the amount of people wanting a fresh start.

In May 2018, Code for America launched a pilot scheme to help the government analyse thousands of eligible criminal records. The algorithm reads the criminal record and then maps the data to determine if it can be sent to the courts to be expunged. It was trialled in in up to 5 counties in California who partnered with District Attorney offices and set about clearing convictions for people who had a criminal record for smaller offences such as marijuana possession before it was legalised.

Cut to 2020 and over 10,000 people were able to team up with lawyers due to the process. Had the algorithm not been used, it would have been much, much less.

Next Up: Crime Fighting Facial Recognition…

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