Criminal Justice Part 2 (Primary Research Study)

There is a troubling lack of transparency from the creators of the models discussed in Part 1 regarding the factors that get incorporated into the algorithms. Neither details about computational techniques or anonymized data have been released to researchers (Eckhouse, 2017), meaning that the models’ accuracy and biases cannot be properly evaluated. Until they can, the public is left to make their own decisions about whether it is ethical to have sentencing decisions informed by a computer model.   In the face of this lack of public knowledge (for good reason) regarding data science in criminal justice, it is critical to both inform others of what is taking place in police departments nationwide and to survey their opinions on the technology given this new information. Research has shown that the more the public is aware of the procedures their local police are using, the more receptive they are to new ideas and the more comfortable they feel having conversations with law enforcement

Criminal Justice Data Analysis

Can data analysis be used to improve the United States’ criminal justice system?            Right now, in the United States the most talked-about policy subject is crime and police reform. By far the biggest reason for this is that following the unnecessary deaths of several unarmed black Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers, the public has been demanding serious reform to the police system in the United States. But at the same time, law enforcement in this country was already potentially facing major changes for a different reason: the rise of predictive policing technology. This generally involves using predictive models to determine who is most likely to commit future crimes and where the crimes are probably going to be committed. Although systemic racial biases tend to manifest themselves to some degree in computer algorithms that were programmed by humans, it is possible that by combining data analysis strategies with certain political reforms suggested by activists

Using Big Data To Prevent Pandemics

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, with 2 million cases of infection in the United States and 110,000 Americans killed by the disease, it is important to consider the role of big data in the virus’ spread and how data analysis can be used to prevent further infectious disease outbreaks. According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey, 73% of data scientists and professionals in public, private, and non-government organization sectors believe that data analytics will help to prevent pandemics, so although it clearly did not prevent this one, there is still reason to believe it can be a useful tool in the future. Researchers have known for years that analyzing and acting on Internet data, mobile phone logs, and aggregated reports of symptoms can help to slow the spread of infectious diseases. When relatively few people are infected by a virus, it can be tremendously helpful to first detect where people are infected and where these people are moving, then enact policies specifically targeted at

Teacher Selection and Recruitment

Should the American teaching system be changed to more closely resemble the systems of higher-performing nations?  Although the United States (US) devotes more resources to education than almost any other nation, our students are still underperforming on globally standardized tests relative to many other countries’ students, especially wealthy nations. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s test to measure “15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges” is known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and is generally accepted as the leading internationally standardized test. Since the test’s inception in 2000, a majority of participating countries have out-performed the US, including nations such as Finland, Canada, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea (OECD, 2019).   Research suggests that a major factor of this achievement gap is that teachers from high-pe

Minimum Wage

Should the United States government raise the federal minimum wage?               The minimum wage has long been considered a fundamental right of the labor force in the United States. It ensures that every individual who works full-time can earn a minimum wage dictated by the federal or state government instead of by their employer, in order to meet basic standards of living. In 1938, under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, Congress established a federal minimum wage for the first time through the Fair Labor Standards Act. This set the wage at $0.25 per hour ($4.53 in 2019 dollars), which was raised to $0.75 ($8.06) 11 years later. By 1968, the minimum wage had gradually increased to $1.60, or $11.53 in 2019 dollars (Kiger, 2019). This was the highest purchasing power that the federal minimum wage has ever had, at least as of March 2020, partially because it ceased to be indexed to inflation after 1968. This means that the minimum wage no longer changes with the value of

Universal Basic Income

Should the federal government enact universal basic income? The idea of the universal basic income (UBI) is not particularly new, although it has gained popularity in very recent years, with former Democratic presidential candidate and entrepreneur Andrew Yang as well as Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates notably advocating for the policy. These business leaders proposed UBI specifically in response to the growing danger of significant job losses due to automation, but over the last two weeks, a certain virus has shown itself to be a much greater immediate threat to people’s jobs. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has already caused tremendously more unemployment over a much shorter period of time than anyone could have anticipated under normal circumstances, and this has led to calls for direct stimulus payments to all Americans to help offset these losses. On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Senate passed a historic $2 trillion deal in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the recessio