Print Issue Volume 101 - Issue 2

Policing Criminal Justice Data

This Article addresses a matter of fundamental importance to the criminal justice system: the presence of erroneous information in government databases and the limited government accountability and legal remedies for the harm that it causes individuals. While a substantial literature exists on the liberty and privacy perils of large multi-source data assemblage, often termed “big data,” this Article addresses the risks associated with the collection, generation and use of “small” data (i.e., individual-level, discrete data points). Because small data provides the building blocks for all data-driven systems, enhancing data quality will have a significant positive effect on the criminal justice system as a whole. The Article examines the problem of systemic data error, and offers institutional and legislative solutions designed to identify and lessen the extent of error in the nation’s increasingly data-dependent criminal justice system.

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