The Limits of Reallocative and Algorithmic Policing

Criminal Justice Ethics 41 (1):1-24 (2022)
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Policing in many parts of the world—the United States in particular—has embraced an archetypal model: a conception of the police based on the tenets of individuated archetypes, such as the heroic police “warrior” or “guardian.” Such policing has in part motivated moves to (1) a reallocative model: reallocating societal resources such that the police are no longer needed in society (defunding and abolishing) because reform strategies cannot fix the way societal problems become manifest in (archetypal) policing; and (2) an algorithmic model: subsuming policing into technocratic judgements encoded in algorithms through strategies such as predictive policing (mitigating archetypal bias). This paper begins by considering the normative basis of the relationship between political community and policing. It then examines the justification of reallocative and algorithmic models in light of the relationship between political community and police. Given commitments to the depth and distribution of security—and proscriptions against dehumanizing strategies—the paper concludes that a nonideal-theory priority rule promoting respect for personhood (manifest in community and dignity-promoting policing strategies) is a necessary condition for the justification of the above models.

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Luke William Hunt
University of Alabama

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