Data & Society > our work > academic journal > Layers of Bias: A Unified Approach for Understanding Problems With Risk Assessment

Criminal Justice and Behavior | 11.23.18

Layers of Bias: A Unified Approach for Understanding Problems With Risk Assessment

Laurel Eckhouse, Kristian Lum, Cynthia Conti-Cook, Julie Ciccolini

Data & Society Fellow Cynthia Conti-Cook and co-authors assess the bias involved in risk assessment tools.

“In the top layer, we identify challenges to fairness within the risk-assessment models themselves. We explain types of statistical fairness and the tradeoffs between them. The second layer covers biases embedded in data. Using data from a racially biased criminal justice system can lead to unmeasurable biases in both risk scores and outcome measures. The final layer engages conceptual problems with risk models: Is it fair to make criminal justice decisions about individuals based on groups?”

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