The justice system: an efficient data company

When we visualize the justice system we often think about the individual roles whom agents, researchers and lawyers have. When we zoom out and visualize a general image of what the justice system is doing we find out it is in fact a very efficient data company.

Imagine the justice system as a data company which is extraordinarily capable of gathering and processing data. Behind the scenes specific actors contribute in their own specific way to the end result.

Take the agent for example, who’s primary duty is to safeguard society. More importantly, he writes detailed reports of what he or she perceives and experiences during the day. Each event is systematically cataloged. Ranging from active events originating from the first-response unit to the observations during a patrol. Piece by piece they are extensively recorded and analysed.

A hearing can be led by an agent or a researcher where tested hearing-methodology in combination with psychological knowledge of the fallible human and how they act is leveraged during the conversation with the suspect. Through thoughtful, repetitive analysis this methodology is continuously refined leading to a wide range of datapoints and knowledge on how to interpret them. During hearings, mistakes in versions covered by the involved parties or even from one individual are sought after. The results are analysed and individual motives determined.

In a nutshell, you are played out against each other and yourself when interrogated. False assumptions and inaccuracies at the core.

Aside from the hearings are the raw datapoints. Examples of said datapoints include but are not limited to audio-recordings, camera footage or information gathered in conjunction with telecommunication companies.

Data and data-analyses are the corebusiness of the justice system. Even when hard evidence is missing, a variety of probabilistic calculations and analyses can be performed. By combining a wide variety of vague details and calculating the probability of said details colliding can quickly paint a scenario for a judge about whom the perpetrator is in a particular case. By leveraging profiling a generic image is generated that — in general terms — stems from historical convictions and is actively applied in the hunt for the perpetrator.

While collecting information about criminal networks and organisations large-scale network analysis and behavioural science is applied to identify the key individuals.

Just as determining the key individuals within a network is important, so is assigning a proper priority to a case in order to determine which cases deserve the attention of the team. It is important that human resources are not being dedicated to gospel nor being influenced by the mental state of third parties involved in the case. The efficiency of the data company will by result partly be determined by how good the system is capable of assigning the right priority to the right case to acquire an accurate and efficient end result.

It speaks for itself that a murder-case has a higher priority and deserves a larger commitment of the available resources than an ordinary fight between neighbours. Therefore we can conclude that the efficiency is determined by the conclusions drawn from the social and societal context of the case and not just by how the collected data points are handled.

With this in mind it makes sense that it would be possible to solve a greater percentage of crime successfully if the prioritisation was not part of the equation. However, there is a distinct tradeoff whereas the gained efficiency in one area leads to a decrease in efficiency in the other area. The justice system is already as efficient as it can be, the only thing keeping it back from reaching its full potential is solving the misaligned perspectives in regards to case priority.

A key factor in further determining the efficiency of the justice system comes forth from the ability of the system as whole to handle the information acquired discreetly. It is crucial for its success. Both the methodology and the information acquired are strong assets which have the exclusive ability to reach their full potential by handling them in a discrete manner. The suspect is left behind with a ‘mystical unknown’ which will eventually lead to him making mistakes and revealing key information. The suspect should as it were ‘always have the luck’ to perfectly assume the knowledge of the corps while they are looking for the one key improbability which is revealed sooner or later.

The mission of Refortuna is to fill the priority gap in the justice system by giving the modal individual the possibility to leverage industry-proven analyses and data-gathering techniques. Where the legal system does not want to take care of it because of priority misalignment, a competent and versatile analytical platform can come to aid. This does not necessarily mean that you are acting as a judge, but it can once again give you confidence that you can study and analyse the case yourself without prior technical and analytical knowledge.

The juxtaposition between the issues that are important to the system and those important to you are present, with Refortuna providing the basis for what could be improved. You can use the data-gathering and analytical tools that will appear on the website in the coming months without prior knowledge. This power offers you the certainty on paper, useful in the further course of a criminal case or to gain confidence in the further decisions you wish to make.

Power to the people with data analytics at the core.
Benjamin Van Renterghem

Originally distributed on Medium – The justice system: an efficient data company

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