Sarah A. Riley


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I’m an information science PhD candidate at Cornell, where I’m fortunate to be advised by Karen Levy and Solon Barocas. My research is funded by the Microsoft Research Ada Lovelace Fellowship, the MacArthur Foundation, and UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry.

I study municipal algorithmic systems, race/ism, and inequality. My dissertation focuses on the administration of pretrial risk assessments in Virginia. I use a mixed-methods approach to understand how human discretion in the pretrial process—particularly on the part of pretrial officers—affects risk scores, pretrial detention decisions, and life outcomes for accused people.

My interest in municipal algorithmic systems arose while working at the New York City Department of Education to re-engage out-of-school youth, and volunteering for the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition working to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

I also have a master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and internship experience with a variety of organizations, including Data 4 Black Lives and Crime Lab New York.