For some reason we have privatized our prison system (great planning us). Of the following K prison running companies, which do you predict will minimize the mean harm weighted reoffending rate of their prisoners over the next four years?”

Utility function: at the end of EIGHT years, calculate the mean harm rated reoffending rate of prisoners released during the initial four year window. The Oracles utility is equal to the negative of this number, with a “Perfect” utility of zero if no one re-offends.

Usefulness:

If you have multiple ways of running prisons, selecting the prison which minimizes future harm seems like a good idea.

In a similar vein, I suspect a similar effect could be achieved today via suitable use of insurance:

“Dear insurance company. We will give you M dollars for this criminal. You may recommend which prison to send them to, but if they re offend afterwards, you must pay the cost of their subsequent incarceration. You may not interfere with their lives beyond recommending who runs their prison.

M is selected such that M is 1.03 times the expectation of the cost of subsequent incarcerations.”

SUBMISSION:

“Dear low bandwidth Oracle:

For some reason we have privatized our prison system (great planning us). Of the following K prison running companies, which do you predict will minimize the mean harm weighted reoffending rate of their prisoners over the next four years?”

Utility function: at the end of EIGHT years, calculate the mean harm rated reoffending rate of prisoners released during the initial four year window. The Oracles utility is equal to the negative of this number, with a “Perfect” utility of zero if no one re-offends.

Usefulness:

If you have multiple ways of running prisons, selecting the prison which minimizes future harm seems like a good idea.

In a similar vein, I suspect a similar effect could be achieved today via suitable use of insurance:

“Dear insurance company. We will give you M dollars for this criminal. You may recommend which prison to send them to, but if they re offend afterwards, you must pay the cost of their subsequent incarceration. You may not interfere with their lives beyond recommending who runs their prison.

M is selected such that M is 1.03 times the expectation of the cost of subsequent incarcerations.”