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Algorithms saturate our lives today; from curated song lists to recommending “friends” and news feeds, they factor into some of the most human aspects of decision-making, tapping into preferences based on an ever-growing amount of data. Regardless of whether the algorithm pertains to routing you around traffic jams or finding your next dinner, there is little regulation and even less transparency regarding just how these algorithms work. Paralleling this societal adoption, the criminal justice system now employs algorithms in some of the most important aspects of investigation and decision-making.

The lack of oversight is abundantly apparent in the criminal justice system where various algorithm-based tools are now routinely deployed to investigate, prosecute, and sentence offenders. In the absence of suitable safeguards, decisions affecting life and liberty are contained in an impenetrable “black box.”