A Computer System to Forecast Future Crimes

Richard Berk, a criminology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks that it's possible to build a computer program that could predict the likelihood that a convicted felon will commit future crimes. These predictions could be used to determine whether or not a convict should be granted parole:

If Berk's ground-breaking computer models work, it could be key for a state parole board that has come under increasing scrutiny for releasing violent criminals well before they reach their maximum sentence, only to see them go on to commit more violent crimes.[...]

Killers who kill again after they are released highlight the need for the state to find a more accurate way to predict which inmates present the highest risk when paroled.

So the parole board has given Berk a $228,000 grant to build his system, pilot it next year and have it in place by 2011.

"We're hoping this will take the board's decision-making to a higher level," parole board spokesman Leo Dunn said. "If a computer program can help prevent the death of someone like [Denise Merhi], then the board wants that information."

Link via DVICE | Photo by Flickr user Tim Pearce, Los Gatos used under Creative Commons license

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How about tagging the criminals who brag about how thug-life they are? Or how many felonies they have, as if it's a mark of honor?

As a Corrections Officer, I'd be happy to take the money they're going to waste on this "psychic computer" and just tell them which ones are going to bounce right back into the pokey.
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