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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 13, 2018 04:44 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Risk Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence in Criminal Justice
Determinations must be made at all phases of the criminal justice process – from initial bail decisions to sentencing to parole decisions – about the unique risks and needs of each offender. Efforts are underway to develop more accurate risk assessment instruments, algorithms, and artificial intelligence to assist criminal justice authorities in making these determinations. I will soon introduce legislation to encourage transparency in the use of these risk assessment tools and to seek fair and equitable outcomes for those directly affected by them.

My legislation will require all risk algorithms or artificial intelligence programs to meet certain requirements. They must be shown to be free of bias toward any race, gender, or protected class. They must be periodically re-validated and revised in accordance with national best practices. The report of these revisions must be publicly available, along with information about the programs or algorithms and the risk factors they analyze.

Risk assessment tools may lead to more accurate decision-making and improved public safety. We should strive, however, to be transparent about how the tools work in order to foster public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.