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The Virtues of Randomization

The Virtues of Randomization

Chapter:
(p.237) Chapter Nine The Virtues of Randomization
Source:
Against Prediction
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226315997.003.0010

The critiques set forth in this book reflect problems with the actuarial approach more generally—not just with specific types of stereotyping or profiles. This chapter sketches the contours and benefits of a more randomized universe of crime and punishment. Randomization is the only way to achieve a carceral population that reflects the offending population. Randomization in this context is a form of random sampling: random sampling on the highway, for instance, is the only way that the police would obtain an accurate reflection of the offending population. And random sampling is the central virtue behind randomization. What randomization achieves, in essence, is to neutralize the perverse effects of prediction, both in terms of the possible effects on overall crime and of the other social costs.

Keywords:   crime, punishment, randomization, actuarial methods, racial profiling, random sampling

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