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The ratchet effect occurs when these incarceration rates are subsequently used to further boost ethnic profiling. As the table show, the incarceration rate is proportional to the offending rate when the police search randomly that is, without profiling for offenders, for instance when checking vehicles for drugs or other contraband.

Against Prediction

Source: Harcourt, B. This, Harcourt argues, is precisely the distortion created by using actuarial methods such as ethnic or racial profiling. This is an important difference and, interestingly, ethnic profiling can be understood as a factor that produces more crime, regardless of the theory we use to analyze it.

If, for example, we accept a rational choice theory that states that people include risks being caught and opportunities crime pays when deciding whether or not to commit a particular crime, the deterrence of profiled groups is balanced out or even exceeded by the attractiveness of crime for nonprofiled groups. From this perspective, it can be assumed that ethnic profiling decreases the actual offending rate of minorities, only to increase the rate among the majority, which, by definition, is much larger!

The sum effect is an increase in crime.

Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age

If we take a totally opposite theory, for instance one that is centered on police legitimacy and procedural fairness e. March 3, The New Yorker.

Archived from the original on October 2, Harcourt Faculty Columbia Law School". The Wall Street Journal.

Los Angeles Review of Books. Mal fare, dir vero: funzione della confessione nella giustizia corso de Lovanio, Harcourt, Bernard E The counterrevolution: how our government went to war against its own citizens.

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Against Prediction: Profiling, Policing, and Punishing in an Actuarial Age, Harcourt

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