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Against PredictionProfiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age$
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Bernard E. Harcourt

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226316130

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 May 2022

The Virtues of Randomization

The Virtues of Randomization

(p.237) Chapter Nine The Virtues of Randomization
Against Prediction
University of Chicago Press

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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