Law and Social Inquiry
From parole prediction instruments and violent sexual predator scores to racial profiling on the highways, instruments to predict future dangerousness, drug-courier profiles, and IRS computer algorithms to detect tax evaders, the rise of actuarial methods in the field of crime and punishment presents a number of challenging issues at the intersection of economic theory, sociology, history, race studies, criminology, social theory, and law. The three review articles of Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age by Ariela Gross, Yoram Margalioth, and Yoav Sapir, raise these challenges in their very best light. Ranging from the heights of poststructuralist and critical race theory to the intricate details of mathematical economics and criminological analysis, the articles apply different disciplinary lenses to the analysis of the actuarial turn offered in Against Prediction and set forth both substantive and structural challenges to the book. By means of a detailed reply to the three reviews, this article provides a reader's companion to Against Prediction.
Bernard E. Harcourt, "A Reader's Companion to Against Prediction: A Reply to Ariela Gross, Yoram Margalioth, and Yoav Sapir on Economic Modeling, Selective Incapacitation, Governmentality, and Race," 33 Law and Social Inquiry 265 (2008).