Conversation and Audience Q&A with Glenn Rodríguez and screening of documentary, “Algorithms Rule Us All”
Overview & Event Agenda
Is algorithmic decision-making currently used in our criminal justic system serving society or harming people due to opaque and biased software? What are advocacy groups and cities doing to impose accountability and transparency into software that decides the fate and freedoms of human beings?
Join us for an important discussion on the implementation and impact of automated risk assessment technologies in the criminal justic system being used to determine the fate and future of inmates in a number of ways — in this case, specifically, relating to their eligibility for parole.
COMPAS, an acronym for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, is a case management and decision support tool developed and owned by Northpointe used by U.S. courts to assess the likelihood of a defendant becoming a recidivist. COMPAS has been used by the U.S. states of New York, Wisconsin, California, Florida’s Broward County, and other jurisdictions.
Our special guest speaker, joining us to share his personal story and answer your questions, is Glenn Rodríguez who, after serving 26 years in prison in New York, was denied parole by COMPAS automated risk assessment software, despite having served his entire sentence with a near-perfect record of rehabilitation…
“Mr. Rodríguez was denied parole last year despite having a nearly perfect record of rehabilitation. The reason? A high score from a computer system called Compas. The company that makes Compas considers the weighting of inputs to be proprietary information. That forced Mr. Rodríguez to rely on his own ingenuity to figure out what had gone wrong.
This year, Mr. Rodríguez returned to the parole board with the same faulty Compas score. He had identified an error in one of the inputs for his Compas assessment. But without knowing the input weights, he was unable to explain the effect of this error, or persuade anyone to correct it. Instead of challenging the result, he was left to try to argue for parole despite the result.
Mr. Rodríguez was lucky. In the end, he made parole and left Eastern Correctional in mid-May. But had he been able to examine and contest the logic of the Compas system to prove that its score gave a distorted picture of his life, he might have gone home much earlier.” — Rebecca Wexler, When a Computer Program Keeps You In Jail (NY Times)
How has this process changed his life and the process of automated risk assessment technologies? What’s being done today to ensure this doesn’t happen again and that there is a system of transparency and checks and balances? After watching a screening of the documentary film, Algorithms Rule Us All, Glenn Rodríguez will join us for a fireside chat about his experience winning his freedom and fighting the invisible software that denied him his freedom, followed by an audience Q&A. Lite bites, beverages and wine included.
- Prisoner Risk Algorithm Could Program In Racism (The Bureu of Investigative Journalism)
- Should We Be Afraid of AI in the Criminal-Justice System? (The Atlantic)
- When a Computer Program Keeps You in Jail (NY Times)
- NYC wants a chief algorithm officer to counter bias, build transparency (Ars Technica)
- A Popular Algorithm Is No Better at Predicting Crimes Than Random People (The Atlantic)
- How We Analyzed the COMPAS Recidivism Algorithm (ProPublica)
- NYC algorithm task force makes broad suggestions in final report (City & State)
6:00pm – 6:15pm: Sign in, mingle, lite bites, beverages and wine served
6:15pm – 7:00pm: Screening of film, Algorithms Rule Us All
7:00pm – 7:45pm: Fireside Chat with Glenn and Charlie Oliver (Founder/CEO of Tech 2025)
7:45pm – 8:15pm: Audience Q&A
8:15pm – 8:30pm: More mingling and then bye!
*** Seating is very limited and walk-ins will not be allowed for this event.****
Glenn Rodríguez, Program Director, Horizon Juvenile Center
Glenn Rodriguez, Program Director at the Horizon Juvenile Center, is an innovative leader and advocate for criminal justice reform and a broad array of social justice issues whose inspiring story of redemption and fight for freedom have captured mainstream media attention and facilitated debate on responsible and ethical use of technology in the correctional system.
Over the past three years, Glenn has held several positions at the Center for Community Alternatives, Inc. (CCA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes reintegrative justice and a reduced reliance on incarceration through advocacy, services, and public policy development in pursuit of civil and human rights.
Glenn began his professional career as a Case Manager working with justice-involved youth who were court-mandated to participate in CCA’s Youth Advocacy Project, an alternative to incarceration program. In his role as case manager, Glenn was instrumental in helping court-involved teens navigate the complexities of their day-to-day lives.
Glenn’s passion for working with inner-city youth derives from his personal experience. Following the tragic loss of both parents by the age of 4, Glenn was raised by his maternal grandmother in a single-parent household. Glenn grew up in Inwood, a crime-riddled sector of Manhattan, at the height of the War on Drugs. During his sophomore year of high school, at the age of 16, Glenn joined five other teens and partook in a robbery that resulted in the death of a young used car salesman. Following his arrest in 1990, Glenn was charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to 26 ½ years to life in prison.