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Computers and Criminal Justice

Societies all over the globe have long been striving for order. It can be achieved in multiple ways but generally relies on a simplified, automated system and, in some cases, complete control over people’s actions. The legal system has always been instrumental in meeting this goal. Nevertheless, the legal system may be a uniquely human invention that is designed not only to enforce the law but also to fulfill people’s strong inner desire for justice and mercy.

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Advanced computer technologies may provide humanity with the opportunity to pass most of the tasks performed by lawyers to a machine. It will, arguably, make the whole process much more efficient, transparent, and logical. Computer programs are capable of providing accurate predictions of recidivism, which is extremely important for society. Using coefficients for deciding sentences will also make the judicial system more efficient in terms of ensuring society’s security. Moreover, Christie (1981) states that using new technologies can eliminate chance from sentences given by judges. People can also use computer programs themselves in order to know the outcome in advance, which will free courts from the excessive routine workload. Despite all the above-mentioned advantages, there is one major drawback. It is an immensely challenging task to decide which group of people or institutions can design the basic guidelines for such machines. Any option will be considered unfair by a large portion of the population in any case, as other groups’ opinions will be underrepresented. Therefore, standardized computer programs should not be used to decide sentences. Nils Christie believed that law is similar to art and should not be simplified and automated.

Currently, humanity tries to rationalize and simplify many spheres of life by using modern technologies. The judicial system is just one of these numerous spheres. Nevertheless, unlike many other institutions that are designed to produce more goods and ensure security, the judicial system has historically played a major role in shaping not only society but each human being as well. The ability of judges to show compassion and believe in people’s ability to improve is vital for maintaining the current perception of a human being. The assumption that all people are designed to be good and that they can improve if they are given a chance is vital for many societies worldwide. Therefore, courts should continue to have a certain room for maneuver when shaping people’s future.


Christie, N. (1981). Limits to pain. M. Robertson.

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