07/08/2009

New Philly program helps identify likely violent parolees

By Faye Flam
Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — As part of an attempt to fight crime, Philadelphia is now the subject of an experiment never tried in another city: A computer is forecasting who among the city's 49,000 parolees is likeliest to rob, assault, or kill someone.

Since March, the city's Adult Probation and Parole Department has been using the system to reshuffle the way it assigns cases. Each time someone new comes through intake, a clerk enters his or her name and the computer takes just seconds to fish through a database for relevant information and deliver a verdict of high, medium, or low risk.

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