Risk-assessment programs aim to make sentencing more efficient—but can they deliver equal justice?
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President Obama has made reducing America’s enormous prison population a centerpiece of his second term, supporting reforms that could roll back jail time for up to 46,000 federal inmates and pushing new rules for sentencing. His chief lieutenant in this campaign, Attorney General Eric Holder, has been outspoken about the relationship between criminal justice and civil rights. But now Holder is questioning a method of thinning the prison population that has been embraced across the country.
Over the past decade, dozens of states have begun using massive databases of crime statistics to determine the odds that an offender will commit another offense.