Login | July 23, 2018

IBM’s AI Watson to help Dayton court

Technology for Lawyers

Published: September 29, 2017

The Juvenile Court of Montgomery County, Ohio, which includes the city of Dayton, has become one of the first juvenile courts in the country to have IBM’s powerhouse AI computer Watson handling its files.

According to an AP story, the court is the first to use Watson to coordinate the docket in a juvenile specialty court—specifically, the juvenile treatment court. IBM said that this is a pilot program—and, in fact, the court was involved with IBM as a development partner for the program. The system went on line last year.

Normally, a system like this will cost by user. But because of the court’s technical involvement with developing the program, IBM is letting the court use the new system at no charge however the court did obtain an $80,000 grant from the Ohio Supreme Court to upgrade its systems to handle the data.

Once the new system was installed, other specialty courts, including veterans’ and reentry parolee courts, now also are tied in to Watson.

As an AI system, Watson is set up to learn about the court and the juveniles it handles, with the idea in mind that after a few months it may be able to offer solutions to various problems.

To get to that point, the system collates files, giving users access to data through a dashboard that is constantly updated in real time. Users can access data that includes a summary of a child’s case and situation, the child’s drug screens, current educational situation, and living environment—all factors of a child’s life that the juvenile judge, Anthony Capizzi, felt were most important to be able to access easily. Capizzi has been with the court since 2004.

Other information accessible from the dashboard include incentives or sanctions given by the court, employment information (all juveniles 16 and older are required to be employed), behavioral diagnoses, and any attendant counseling, therapy, or treatment.

The forward-thinking Capizzi said that the use of AI may allow the court to get out ahead of the current opioid crisis. Let’s see if he’s right, and if the 87 other counties look to adopt something like this.