Big Data, Behavioral Genetics and Risk of Future Offending
A convergence of trends in assessing the future risk of reoffending could result in morally questionable inputs into the criminal process. Advances in the analysis of DNA and increases in the availability of information about people gleaned from social media might allow for new inferences to be drawn against offenders during the sentencing process. We explore how developments in forensic DNA analysis methods and law enforcement DNA databases in conjunction with information about an offender’s developmental environment could lead the prosecution to postulate a high risk of recidivism and thus argue for a longer sentence. We then consider some reasons why such a prosecution strategy might be troubling. In doing so, we focus on issues related to the inferential process, discrimination, privacy and constitutive luck.