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Sep. 8, 2017

Assessing Algorithm-influenced Bail

Bail reform champions argue public safety, more than wealth, should determine defendants' pre-trial release chances; but after a computer-generated public safety score recommended release for a San Francisco defendant subsequently arrested for murder, debate over the role of algorithms in modern bail systems has raged. San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall discuss.


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This week's guests, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall, and San Francisco Public Defender, Jeff Adachi, weigh the merits of bail reform that includes computer-generated risk assessment scores. While both agree that the cash bail system could use reforms, they differ in their thoughts as to whether algorithms should play a role in determining whether or not defendants are released prior to trial, and both men also disagree about the value of certain pre-trial services, like trial reminders, proposed by bail reform supporters.

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