A Florida sheriff’s office keeps a secret list of 420 children that they think could become criminals based on things like their grades, history of abuse, and school attendance, according to a Tampa Bay Times investigation. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office won’t tell kids or parents who’s on the list and, in some cases, schools and agencies didn’t know their data was being used by the office. The data includes academic records and data from the state Department of Children and Families on children who had witnessed or experienced household violence. Former deputies familiar with the matter said that they were ordered to visit flagged children’s homes multiple times and to come up with reasons to make arrests and write tickets. “It is a recipe for violating people’s rights and civil liberties,” senior policy advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania Harold Jordan said.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has previously been scrutinized by the Times for embracing a data-driven program to predict future criminals. It was labeled “junk science” by experts and has led to innocent people being harassed by cops.