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The Proliferation of Actuarial Methods in Punishing and Policing

The Proliferation of Actuarial Methods in Punishing and Policing

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter Three The Proliferation of Actuarial Methods in Punishing and Policing
Source:
Against Prediction
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226315997.003.0004

This chapter documents the ascendance of the actuarial paradigm, focusing on a wide range of predictive tools in criminal law and punishment. It explores the use of actuarial methods in the larger context of selective incapacitation and the resulting reliance on sentencing guidelines that mete out punishment based on prior criminal history. It also describes a gradual shift in law enforcement toward the increased use of criminal profiling—from the early instances of hijacker profiles developed in the 1960s to the more frequent use in the 1970s of drug-courier and alien-smuggler profiles and the more frequent use of profiling in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The historical trajectory reflects the breadth of the actuarial paradigm—from preliminary investigation, through sentencing, and ultimately to the prison-release decision.

Keywords:   criminal law, punishment, predictive tools, actuarial methods, selective incapacitation, sentencing, law enforcement, criminal profiling

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