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Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

(p.215) Chapter Eight Shades of Gray
Against Prediction
University of Chicago Press

This chapter begins by examining one instance of actuarial progress—Manhattan Bail Project—that has benefited poor and minority communities. The Manhattan Bail Project was initiated in October 1961 in an effort to create risk-assessment criteria that would allow judges and magistrates to determine quickly whether defendants could be released on their own recognizance pending trial. The project was largely a response to the plight of poor and indigent defendants who could not afford bail. Because of the project's age, its place in today's literature is generally fixed as the starting point of efforts to reform bail in the American criminal justice system. The chapter then presents a general framework for analyzing the use of actuarial methods. The final section turns to racial profiling in the counterterrorism context to illustrate how the framework can resolve an important issue of national security.

Keywords:   Manhattan Bail Project, actuarial methods, risk assessment, poor, minority community, bail, criminal justice system, racial profiling, counterterrorism

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