From Poisson to the Present: Applying Operations Research to Problems of Crime and Justice

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In the 1830s Siméon-Denis Poisson developed the distribution that bears his name, basing it on the binomial distribution. He used it to show how the inherent variance in jury decisions affected the inferences that could be made about the probability of conviction in French courts. In recent years there have been a number of examples where researchers have either ignored or forgotten this inherent variance, and how operations research, in particular mathematical modeling, can be used to incorporate this variance in analyses. These are described in this paper, as well as other contributions made by operations research to the study of crime and criminal justice.

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