“Artificial Intelligence and its Role in the Criminal Justice System: A Comprehensive Legal Analysis”

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Abstract

This legal research paper delves into the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the criminal justice system, exploring its potential applications and the challenges it presents. The study begins with an overview of AI’s historical development and its classification as an enabler for various technologies. It focuses on India’s legal landscape, the paper examines the introduction of the AI-powered platform, SUPACE. The research systematically investigates the multifaceted uses of AI in the criminal justice system, emphasizing its potential to improve administrative efficiency and decision-making processes. The paper also addresses the impact of AI on legal research, case analysis, and the reduction of processing time.

Furthermore, the study evaluates global implementations of AI in criminal justice, citing examples from the US, UK, etc, and the Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS). It also outlines the short-term and long-term challenges associated with AI in the criminal justice system, including transparency, bias, and potential shifts in judicial roles. The paper concludes with a roadmap and recommendations for the future, proposing the adoption of an AI/ML charter, stakeholder consultations, capacity building, and the establishment of impact evaluation frameworks and ethical considerations to ensure justice.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence (AI), SUPACE, Criminal Justice System, Predictive Policing, Risk Assessment, Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS), Transparency, and Ethical Considerations

Introduction

One of the greatest, most cutting-edge, and innovative ways to synchronize, integrate, and enhance justice delivery is artificial intelligence. Arthur McCarthy first used the term “Artificial Intelligence” in 1956. The ability of digital computers or computer-controlled robots to carry out even the most difficult tasks is referred to as artificial intelligence. AI has the potential to provide speedier, more profitable, and more efficient solutions in the era of homo-sapiens. It was wisely noted by Vladimir Putin that “Whoever becomes a leader in this field will rule the world.[1]” It is the area of study that involves advanced and sophisticated algorithms with the help of which AI learns about human behaviour to act upon situations and further replicate and respond to them according to the input provided.

AI is often termed as a technology, but instead, it is an enabler for a constellation of other technologies. The advances in machine learning models have enabled AI, to surpass human intelligence in specific functional arenas.[2] AI can be utilized in hybrid warfare and secessionist movements to transform a nation’s overall growth trajectory. India has recently developed a National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, called “AI FOR ALL,” which was released by NITI Aayog in 2018. Additionally, India is a member of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) Council Chair, where it can collaborate with other countries to introduce AI management and intrusion. There has been an enormous amount of discussion and interest in the application and integration of AI in the criminal justice system. With a special emphasis on how AI affects law enforcement, risk assessment, sentencing, and potential implementation issues, this study intends to investigate the many uses of AI in the criminal justice system.

LITERATURE REVIEW

This literature study focuses on the revolutionary potential of AI in the criminal justice system, with a focus on its ability to improve decision-making and administrative efficiency. After providing a brief history of artificial intelligence, the story explores India’s efforts to improve judicial efficiency, including the SUPACE platform and the “AI FOR ALL” approach.

The evaluation covers a wide range of AI applications in the legal system, including centralized tracking apps like N Step, legal robotics, and e-court efforts. It talks about how AI can be used for case analysis, legal research, and the Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS), emphasising how it can help with data sharing amongst the various criminal justice system pillars.

Global examples like the HART, VICTOR are evaluated with the benefits of AI, including predictive policing, risk assessment tools, and sentencing algorithms. The evaluation does, however, acknowledge both long-term and short-term issues like the impact on intellectual property laws, transparency, and bias issues.

Solutions are suggested in the section titled “Roadmap and Way Ahead,” which includes public-private collaborations, stakeholder discussions, etc.                                                  

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

For researchers to fully capture the nuances of this rapidly expanding topic, the study methodology for examining the transformative influence of AI on the criminal justice system takes a multifaceted approach. First, a thorough examination of the body of knowledge on AI in the criminal justice system will be accomplished using a qualitative research design policy documents, and legal frameworks. This involves conducting a thorough analysis of scholarly publications, official documents, and pertinent court decisions to build a fundamental knowledge. This paper includes the primary and secondary sources of data for the development of AI.

The study’s focus will be on the views, obstacles, and expectations encompassing the integration of AI. The data will be evaluated by applying a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques to look for trends, patterns, and potential areas for improvement. The ultimate objective of this thorough approach is to give policymakers, legal experts, and researchers a comprehensive understanding of how A.I is affecting the criminal justice system.

AI and its uses in JUSTICE SYSTEM

There are several potential uses in which AI can play a crucial role in developing the criminal justice system for administrative efficiency and augmenting decision-making processes for several current and future applications. It can be a game changer for the marginalized class’s access to justice, as previously stated in Hussainara Khatoon versus the State of Bihar[3], Khatri versus the State of Bihar[4], and many other important instances that are mentioned in the Constitution of India and several other statutes enacted by the Parliament of India. With the help of SUPACE, e-court initiatives, and campaign online dispute resolution with the aid of big data, it will foster the improvement of organizational effectiveness and synchronize the justice delivery system. Further, it can be used to save a significant amount of time on legal research, drafting, factual propositions, etc., which might enhance decision-making.

It can be used in the justice delivery system through computational instruments such as the MV Act’s challenge or compensation based on variables and principles, or the NI Act’s S.138 of cheque dishonour, etc. Further, using AI and ML in the criminal justice system may significantly cut down on processing time.

The Supreme Court platform for Assistance in Court Efficiency, or SUPACE for short, is an AI-powered platform that has been introduced to increase the efficiency of Indian courts and legal researchers. “SUPACE” is a unique solution that responds exactly like its person and is completely customizable. It provides a digital infrastructure that can further the efforts and fulfil the purpose of the digitization movement happening across the country.[5]

While the Supreme Court is already using language technology to translate its pronouncements into vernacular tongues, it has also initiated a ground-breaking initiative to deploy AI to support judges’ legal research. The goal of integrating AI into the legal system is to improve productivity and efficiency in the administration of justice while also decreasing the number of cases pending. The Former CJI SA Bobde recently unveiled the artificial intelligence portal SUPACE, he characterises it as the “ideal fusion of human intellect and machine learning.[6] With SUPACE, AI-enabled assistive tools, judges and legal researchers can work on cases more efficiently by extracting pertinent information, reading case files, managing teamwork, and drafting case papers.

Legal robotics can be utilized to increase access to criminal justice. AI-designed bots are becoming more and more common in a variety of industries, including e-commerce, banking, and insurance. Processing time is considerably reduced using AI Bots are useful, interactive gadgets that give users common information in a conversational style. Legal robotics has the potential to significantly impact the court system by acting as intelligent, dynamic FAQ repositories that improve the public’s comprehension of the law.

The court’s procedures are accelerated, and it receives insightful feedback regarding similar cases from the past, allowing it to use its discernment to render decisions with greater reason. It also facilitates interoperability between platforms to enable seamless communication with minimal effort and cost. It can facilitate file transfers, which allow for versatility and transparency and are one of the factors contributing to the delays in receiving justice. Also, by using AI, there is less room for human error in the context of pronouncing judgments.

AI lessens the quantity of documents that must be stored on-site for a specific instance. It also facilitates in-depth information analysis to boost the criminal justice accessibility, efficiency, and transparency. It makes use of optical character recognition (OCR) and machine-readable data to enable efficient tracking, searching, editing, and archiving.

Legal experts such as Richard Susskind and Jordan Furlong have been bemoaning the legal profession’s woes and its stubborn adherence to traditions by utilizing AI and big data. The combination of law and technology about criminal offenses will greatly increase job flexibility.

AI aids in the analysis of large, complicated, and rapidly growing datasets pertaining to precedents, the judicial system, and other topics. He can calculate the judgments of a case based on the given data. The Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) makes it possible for data and information to be seamlessly transferred from one platform to another between the various criminal justice system pillars, such as courts, police, jails, and forensic science laboratories.[7], and, with the aid of the ICJS platform, the FIR, case diary, and charge sheet can be accessed by the court and can be easily manageable for the disposal of bails. It may assist in the analysis of large, complicated, and rapidly growing datasets pertaining to precedents, the judicial system, and other topics.

The use of AI in N Step, a centralized process service tracking application that consists of a web application and a companion mobile app, will revolutionize how criminal offenses are prevented by streamlining the summons process from the traditional source, which frequently causes delays in service delivery[8]. The National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), which is a national repository of data relating to cases pending and disposed of in all district and taluka courts of the country, as well as the High Courts, NJDG gives the consolidated figures of cases instituted, disposed of, and the pendency of cases in all courts across the country.[9]

AI can serve as a catalyst to reduce the workload of the judiciary, particularly in cases involving minor offenses, with human judges handling more complex matters. Also, legal information must first be made machine-processable for AI to handle it efficiently and get the optimal result. It can be used in all the applications connected to law; the legal profession employs AI technology for research the most like Westlaw, Ross Intelligence, SCC Online etc. This allows them to offer nuanced viewpoints on the relationships between various cases, which will be useful in making decisions regarding that specific subject.

Judges may find themselves in need of the technology created by Man Corp Innovations Lab (MCIL), particularly since all courts are online and paper use has significantly decreased. A.I. Chatbots that can be operated by voice and chat commands need to be implemented to address the issues that the criminal justice system frequently encounters. There can be an adjudication by AI that could lessen or perhaps completely eradicate the arbitrariness that arises from assigning a criminal case to a “good” or sympathetic judge.

There are also several other advantages that A.I. comes with, like:

The use of predictive policing: Predictive police are using AI algorithms more and more to evaluate massive volumes of crime data from the past. By seeing patterns and trends, these technologies aid law enforcement organizations in more efficient resource allocation. However, issues with accuracy and fairness have been brought up due to worries about the possible reinforcement of biases found in past data.

Tools for Risk Assessment: AI-powered risk assessment systems are used to estimate the probability of reoffending for a certain individual. These tools examine several variables, such as socioeconomic status, criminal history, and demographics. The study will examine how fair and accurate these instruments are, as well as situations in which biases can reduce their efficacy.

Algorithms for Sentencing: In certain countries, judges are assisted in assessing penalties by AI algorithms. These algorithms generate recommendations for sentences based on a variety of characteristics. But these create some accountability and transparency issues for sentencing a person.

Global Surveys regarding AI: –

US: Chicago implemented the Strategic Subject List (S.S.L.) to identify those who are most likely to be involved in gun violence. To determine recidivism risk and, consequently, guide parole and sentencing decisions, a more contentious technique known as COMPAS, or Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, has been employed.[10]

UK: The UK has also employed the HART (Harm Assessment Risk Tool) to predict which offenders are most likely to commit new crimes and to recommend the type of supervision a prisoner should have.

Brazil: VICTOR is used to lessen the burden on the court.

Argentina and Columbia: Both countries respectively, have been using a program named Prometea to forecast case outcomes with its 96% success rate in less than 20 seconds.

Ross is an IBM product that is widely used by law firms globally, especially in the USA. Its main functions include reviewing contracts, conducting legal research, summarising case laws, and more.[11]

JUDi” smart office solution runs on AI which handles all aspects of smart office work, including document management, task delegation, video, instant messaging correspondence, reading, underlining scanned documents, researching any topic in the files, adding notes, creating illustrations, tables, and charts, drafting documents, and even simple tasks like approval and rejection.

Challenges: –

Short Term Challenges

Transparency and Comprehensibility: In some cases, AI-driven technologies have known inputs and outputs. The “black box” dilemma is another term for this lack of transparency. Because of this, the mathematical formulas and reasoning behind these algorithms are typically kept under wraps, making it challenging to challenge the algorithm’s foundation.

Biasness and Transparency Issues: The possible bias in the AI algorithms utilized by the criminal justice system is one major area of concern as studies show AI systems might reinforce or magnify pre-existing prejudices, producing unfair results.

AI and ML systems have the potential to purposefully, or accidentally reinforce biases, jeopardizing the justice system’s impartiality. A machine that cannot make decisions based on the values and considerations that humans can is one of the greatest concerns regarding AI, which can lead to injustice to the marginalized strata of society.

Long Term Challenges: –

  • The separation of powers and the constitutional role of judges can be radically changed by AI-driven judiciary by creating static checks and balances over administration.
  •  A value lock-in is a situation in which a legal status quo can become inflexible and permanent because of consistently preserving precedents, making it more difficult to modify the law to bring it into line with changing societal values and views.
  • The application of AI has the potential to significantly impact intellectual property laws. In the unlikely event that we talk about the conventional method, copyright responsibilities for computerized works were never discussed because the program was viewed more like a pen and paper—an instrument supporting imagination. In a large portion of the locales, including Spain and Germany, the works made by humans can be safeguarded by copyright, yet not so much for Artificial Intelligence.[12]

Roadmap and Way Ahead: –

There are a lot of things to be done, like from adoption of a charter that governs AI and ML for preventing the aforesaid challenges. We must also consult with a wide range of stakeholders to guarantee openness and the legal community’s trust throughout the process. We should also encourage the study of AI governance for the legal system to tackle the important issues that AI brings. Further, we should plan to increase capacity through sufficient instruction and skill enhancement, and we must also increase the size of the Supreme Court AI Committee to supervise the application of AI in the legal system.

The release of publicly available datasets shall be in a timely, phased-wise manner, and within this will also include several data regarding every significant advancement in AI that enables AI to perform its task more efficiently. We shall also utilize PPPs (public-private partnerships) to develop and implement AI technology interventions. The PPP model may guarantee State monitoring and it may help combat misuse of AI. We also need to study the establishment of impact evaluation frameworks and feedback loops to determine what functions and what does not lead to distorting the laws that hamper society the most.

Conclusion and suggestions

The research concludes by summarizing key findings, highlighting the benefits and challenges associated with the use of AI in the criminal justice system, and offering insights into potential directions for future research and policy development. This comprehensive overview aims to provide a thorough understanding of the multifaceted role of AI in the criminal justice system, offering valuable insights for policymakers, legal professionals, and researchers alike.

AI is a new field of research that can transform the criminal justice delivery system more diligently but also prepare for the several challenges that may arise due to the use of AI in the judicial system. The role of AI in the criminal justice system is a complex and evolving one. While AI technologies hold great promise in enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and fairness, their implementation must be approached with caution and a commitment to addressing ethical and legal concerns. AI can be a valuable tool in tasks such as data analysis, predictive policing, and case management, leading to quicker and more informed decision-making. However, it must be implemented with several safeguards as mentioned.

Transparency and accountability are paramount in the integration of AI[13]. Clear guidelines and standards should be established to govern the use of AI technologies, ensuring that they adhere to legal and ethical principles. Regular audits and assessments should be conducted to monitor the impact of AI on decision-making processes and to identify and rectify any potential biases. Moreover, the legal framework surrounding AI in the criminal justice system must keep pace with technological advancements. Legislation should be enacted or updated to address issues related to privacy, due process, and the potential delegation of decision-making authority to AI systems. Courts should be equipped to critically evaluate and interpret AI-generated evidence, ensuring its admissibility and reliability.

In summary, the role of AI in the criminal justice system is one that requires a careful balance between harnessing technological advancements for the greater good and safeguarding against unintended consequences. As legal scholars, it is our responsibility to advocate for a framework that upholds justice, fairness, and the protection of individual rights in the face of evolving technological landscapes.

  • BY RISHAV ANAND
  • Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

[1] CNN, Who Putin thinks will rule the world | CNN, (last visited November 13th 2023)

[2] Dr. Anur Sharma, AI and National Security: Major Power Perspective and Challenges, IDSA Issue Brief (13th          November, 2023, 16:00 pm), AI and National Security: Major Power Perspectives and Challenges | Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (idsa.in)

[3] Hussainara Khatoon v. the State of Bihar,(1980) 1 SCC 98

[4]  Khatri v. the State of Bihar, AIR 1981 SC 262

[5] HT Correspondent, CJI Bobde calls for use of artificial intelligence in justice system, Hindustan Times (12th November, 2023 02:17pm) CJI Bobde calls for use of artificial intelligence in justice system | Latest News India – Hindustan Times

[6] Samiksha Mehra, AI is set to reform justice delivery in india, IndiAai (12th November, 2023     4:05pm) AI is set to reform justice delivery in India (indiaai.gov.in)

[7] Anonymous, Inter-operable justice system, vikaspedia (12th November, 2023 10:45pm) Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System — Vikaspedia

[8] Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan, Introduction of Artificial Intelligence in justice delivery system, nja.gov.in (12th November, 2023 10:28pm) Introduction of Artificial Intelligence in the Judicial system (nja.gov.in)

[9] Arghya Sengupta, Ameen Jauhar and Vaidehi Mishra, Responsible AI for Indian Justice system – A strategy Paper, VIDHI Centre for Legal Policy (10th November, 2023 12:10am) Responsible AI for the Indian Justice System – A Strategy Paper – Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (vidhilegalpolicy.in)

[10] Arghya Sengupta, Ameen Jauhar and Vaidehi Mishra, Responsible AI for Indian Justice system – A strategy Paper, VIDHI Centre for Legal Policy (10th Novemeber, 2023 12:10am) Responsible AI for the Indian Justice System – A Strategy Paper – Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy (vidhilegalpolicy.in)

[11] Ananth Kinni, Artificial Intelligence and Legal Profession: An “Intelligent way ahead’’?, Bar and Bench (07th November, 2023 10:27pm) Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession: An ‘intelligent’ way ahead? (barandbench.com)

[12] Aakansha Bhatia, AI and Copyright AI AND COPYRIGHT 2.3 JCLJ (2022) 1432, SCC Online (14th November, 2023 10:50am) Judgments update on scconline.com

[13] Alec Foster, The Importance of transparency and accountability in development of AI, Ethical Marketing (13th November, 2023 11:19am) The Importance of Transparency and Accountability in the Development of AI (ethical.marketing)

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