Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in An Actuarial Age

By Bernard E. Harcourt | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

This project grew out of a haunting realization that the increasingly pervasive use of actuarial measures in the criminal law was beginning to shape our conception of just punishment. It also grew out of my deep concern over the issue of racial profiling in the United States. It became clear to me that the two matters were linked by the concept of statistical discrimination, and that it would be impossible to unpack one without fully understanding the other. As the project took shape, I had the enormous good fortune of spending time at several universities, each of which contributed in special ways to the ultimate production of this book. Martha Minow and Carol Steiker at Harvard University generously offered guidance, much criticism, and even more support throughout the entire project and helped bring this book to fruition. For that, I am deeply grateful.

As I focused more and more on the emerging data on police practices from across the country, I turned my attention to the new economic models of racial profiling that were being developed simultaneously in the United States and abroad. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Gary Becker at the University of Chicago for working through my models with me with chalk and pen, and for giving me extensive comments, guidance, and feedback. I am also extremely grateful to Nicola Persico at the University of Pennsylvania for generous comments and exchanges, especially, I recall fondly, by e-mail as we separately prepared Thanksgiving dinner in November 2004. Fred Schauer generously debated my criticisms and challenged me to rethink my central arguments.

My colleagues at the University of Chicago were instrumental in refining my analysis, especially Richard Posner, Tracey Meares, Tom Miles, Geoffrey Stone, and David Weisbach. Martha Nussbaum and Cass Sunstein offered extensive reactions and rich discussion, particularly in the context

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