The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has found persistent flaws in an algorithm used to qualify low-risk federal prisoners for early release, including racial bias against non-White felons.
The Pattern algorithm overpredicted the risk that many Black, Hispanic, and Asian prisoners would commit new crimes or violate their paroles, and underpredicted the risk of recidivism among certain inmates of color.
The DOJ determined some of Pattern's disparities could be mitigated, but acknowledged that could induce less-accurate risk predictions, while having the algorithm factor in race might raise other legal issues.
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