Jason Song reports on the use by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department of COMPAS, a computer program, to help identify inmates at low risk of committing new crime if let out of jail. Vera is mentioned briefly for having weighed in on one of the software maker's claims.
Northpointe acknowledges its program has limitations in assessing inmates who suffer from mental illness. The company recommends that jail examiners seek advice from medical professionals, but generally contends its program "works well between gender and ethnicities."
Last fall, the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit research firm hired by the county to review jail crowding issues, raised a question about that last Northpointe claim. Vera cited a 2008 research study that found that COMPAS showed weak results when predicting whether black male inmates were likely to be arrested again.