Sarah Brayne's research while affiliated with University of Texas at Austin and other places

Publications (9)

Article
This review focuses on government use of technology to observe, collect, or record potential criminal activity in real-time, as contrasted with “transaction surveillance” that involves government efforts to access already-existing records and exploit Big Data, topics that have been the focus of previous reviews (Brayne 2018, Ridgeway 2018). Even so...
Article
Full-text available
Zusammenfassung Der Beitrag beschäftigt sich mit der Schnittstelle von zwei strukturellen Entwicklungen: der zunehmenden Überwachung und dem Aufkommen von Big Data. Gestützt auf ethnografische Beobachtungen und Interviews innerhalb der Polizeibehörde von Los Angeles analysiere ich, wie der Einsatz von Big-Data-Techniken die polizeiliche Überwachung...
Book
The scope of criminal justice surveillance, from policing to incarceration, has expanded rapidly in recent decades. At the same time, the use of big data has spread across a range of fields, including finance, politics, health, and marketing. While law enforcement’s use of big data is hotly contested, very little is known about how the police actua...
Article
The number of predictive technologies used in the U.S. criminal justice system is on the rise. Yet there is little research to date on the reception of algorithms in criminal justice institutions. We draw on ethnographic fieldwork conducted within a large urban police department and a midsized criminal court to assess the impact of predictive techn...
Article
Law enforcement agencies increasingly use big data analytics in their daily operations. This review outlines how police departments leverage big data and new surveillant technologies in patrol and investigations. It distinguishes between directed surveillance - which involves the surveillance of individuals and places under suspicion - and dragnet...
Article
Visual data are transforming the documentation of activities across many legal domains. Visual data can incriminate or exonerate; they can shape and reshape public opinion. Visual evidence can legitimize certain accounts of events while calling others into question. The proliferation of visual data creates challenges for the law at multiple points...
Article
This article examines the intersection of two structural developments: the growth of surveillance and the rise of “big data.” Drawing on observations and interviews conducted within the Los Angeles Police Department, I offer an empirical account of how the adoption of big data analytics does—and does not—transform police surveillance practices. I a...
Article
The degree and scope of criminal justice surveillance increased dramatically in the United States over the past four decades. Recent qualitative research suggests the rise in surveillance may be met with a concomitant increase in efforts to evade it. To date, however, there has been no quantitative empirical test of this theory. In this article, I...
Article
In this review, I examine explanations for why the United States is a world leader in its use of imprisonment. I first outline cross-national trends in incarceration and then evaluate the state of the literature and empirical evidence for why the United States is more punitive than other advanced industrialized nations. I argue a confluence of poli...

Citations

... For crime in general, " predictive policing" may present an opportunity, though it should be noted that there is an ongoing debate whether or not digital technology is advanced enough for it to be put to widespread practical use ( Alikhademi et al., 2022). Essentially, this term refers to a set of mathematical, predictive analytics as well as other analytical techniques in law enforcement used to identify potential criminal activity, often with the intended purpose of stopping crime before it happens ( Brayne, 2021). While predictive policing should not be seen as a " crystal ball", it can help identify individuals and locations at increased risk of crime, and may be combined with other law enforcement techniques and strategies in order to make them more effective ( Perry, McInnis, Price, Smith, & Hollywood, 2013). ...
... Indeed, despite a great deal of randomness associated with occurrences of criminal episodes, there are patterns that can be detected (Gorr and Harries, 2003). The idea of being able to predict (and hence prevent) crime before it happens has gained increasing interest in the last few years across both researchers and police forces (Brayne and Christin, 2020;Meijer and Wessels, 2019). Among the statistical methods employed to forecast crime, two main approaches can be noted: a first set of methods emphasizes the spatial clustering of criminal activity and leads to the identification of the so-called hotspots, i.e., areas where offenders tend to repeat their crime (see Mohler, 2014); a second approach, boosted by the availability of big data and ML techniques, involves the identification of police targets through statistical predictions (Perry et al., 2013). ...
... While legal professionals also largely drew on their experiences working within specialized teams or areas (e.g. sexual violence and assaults, homicides, child abuse, domestic violence, and aggravated assaults), many of the videos they discussed were representative of the general trend towards the use of visual evidence in criminal justice proceedings overall (Brayne et al., 2018). ...
... We must also pay attention to the role that seemingly race-neutral heuristics are used to justify the expansion of police surveillance and enforcement through new technologies (e.g., PredPol, Clearview). As recent research has shown (Brayne 2018;Ferguson 2017), these technologies tend to be adapted into preexisting racialized policing projects with similar outcomes for marginalized communities. ...
... The literature on crime known under the heading of 'predictive policing' builds on the idea that forecasting (and preventing) crime before it happens is necessary in order to reduce criminality and use public resources more efficiently (Brayne, 2017). Indeed, despite a great deal of randomness associated with occurrences of criminal episodes, there are patterns that can be detected (Gorr and Harries, 2003). ...
... For instance, there is growing evidence that youth exposed to proactive policing strategies are less likely to trust or respect the police (Harris & Jones, 2020) and are more likely to develop cynical attitudes about the law (Geller & Fagan, 2019;Jackson, Testa, & Vaughn, 2020). Perceptions of legal authorities as untrustworthy and undeserving of respect, moreover, may ultimately have broader implications for whether youth trust in and/or are attached to authority figures representing other institutions (Brayne, 2014). For youth in particular, this may be most relevant in the case of academic institutions, given that schools are one of the most central surveilling institutions in their lives (Haskins & Jacobsen, 2017;Hirschfield, 2010). ...
... This long-standing characteristic of policing in communities of color is another piece of evidence that spatial differences in policing approaches do not reasonably or consistently align with spatial variation in the occurrence of crime. In sum, similar to incarceration, shifts and variations in policing are not rational responses to crime and social disorder (see Western 2006;Brayne 2013). They are purposeful choices made on individual, network, and departmental levels, and they are rooted in national, state, and local social dynamics and political priorities. ...