Hey Watson: Local judge first to use IBM’s artificial intelligence on juvenile cases

Montgomery County’s Capizzi teams with IBM to design system for children’s court.


You’ve probably seen IBM’s Watson talking on TV commercials, but Montgomery County is part of pilot project that would put the lightning-fast, artificial intelligence system into the hands of judges across the country.

Judge Anthony Capizzi said juvenile court cases now are more complicated by drugs and dysfunction within households. Getting the most out of technology is one way courts can get ahead of the opioid epidemic and the other crises that disrupt young lives, he said.

“As a judge you get so much information from so many different groups: probation officers, behavioral health providers, police departments, educators,” Capizzi said. “I envision using the Watson system to give me more information in a more concise way to allow me to better treat the children and the families I serve.”

RELATED: Montgomery County picked for juvenile court drug project

The solution beats sifting through anywhere from 30 to 300 pages of paperwork in the five to seven minutes he may have for each of 30-35 juveniles seen during a typical treatment court docket, said Capizzi, with the court since 2004.

Montgomery County was the first to pilot the technology in a U.S. specialty juvenile court, said Eric Fichtel, director of Care Management for Watson Health.

“We signed him up as a design partner and literally had our development and design team sit through his court,” Fichtel said. “He was basically the first client for this particular use.”

Beginning last fall, Capizzi and his Montgomery County colleagues helped IBM develop the digital case file by blending the local court’s experience handling tough children’s cases with the capability of Watson’s cognitive technology. The resulting system displays a dashboard of cloud-based information that can be updated in real-time by any court officer, whether down the hall or in the field, Capizzi said.

The dashboard focuses on the areas Capizzi said are essential: A summary of a child’s situation, the most recent and past few drug screens, their current educational situation and living arrangement. It also shows incentives or sanctions given the child by the court, as well as any behavioral diagnosis, counseling, therapy or treatment. If a youth is employed – which Capizzi requires of anyone 16 and older – that information is displayed.

RELATED: Montgomery County juvenile judge becomes president of national group

“The Watson Care system gives me the ability to truly spend almost all the time on the child and family’s needs,” he said.”I’m not on the bench shuffling through paperwork.”

If required, a court officer can navigate deeper into the system to retrieve all the information within a case, he said.

IBM debuted the system last year, gaining users of a previous version first among healthcare providers. In addition to Montgomery County’s juvenile treatment court, a few other specialty courts — ones focusing on adults, veterans and parolee re-entry — also now use the technology, Fichtel said. Use is priced per person under care by the month, he said.

As a development partner, the local court is currently using the new Watson system at no charge. However, an Ohio Supreme Court grant of $80,000 was used to help integrate its existing computers with the IBM system.

RELATED: Wimbledon, IBM use Watson AI to help fans get more from matches

If adopted statewide, the Watson system would help standardize best practices, which are not currently uniform throughout Ohio’s 88 counties, Capizzi said. And the longer the system is used, the more useful it will become in helping guide decisions, he said.

“Watson accumulates information, and the more information it gets, the more it learns. Then it can give you feedback,” Capizzi said. “The concept is that as we feed into Watson more scenarios, it will be able to give back to me in a year or 18 months suggested solutions to a problem.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Miami University program that helps students with debt awarded grant
Miami University program that helps students with debt awarded grant

More than 250 people turned out at the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton on Friday afternoon to celebrate the 7th bi-annual Butler County National Philanthropy Day, which honored those who have given to area non-profits and donated valuable services to help those in need in the community. The first-ever Giving Circle grant was also awarded to a special...
Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 
Happy birthday: Co-workers buy car for fellow employee 

A Michigan man will never forget his 19th birthday, thanks to the generosity of his co-workers, WJRT reported. Noah Robinson had been riding his bicycle to work from Saginaw to Kochville Township, pedaling the 6 ½ miles in 45 minutes regardless of the weather conditions. He works in the shipping department at Glastender and lives with his...
Indiana boy carves wooden toys for needy children
Indiana boy carves wooden toys for needy children

A 10-year-old Indiana boy is building toys from scratch to help children in need enjoy the holiday season, WISH reported. Zander Hite of Greenwood took the advice of his grandfather, Darl Hite, who gave the boy a $20 bill last winter and told him to make a difference this holiday season. Zander bought two slabs of wood to build toy cars, WISH...
Former Washington State high school employee accused of rape
Former Washington State high school employee accused of rape

A former employee at a Washington State high school was charged Thursday afternoon with allegedly raping a 15-year-old student. Kristal M. Gamble, 33, was employed as an office assistant at Kent Meridian High School when she allegedly initiated an illegal sexual relationship with a boy last spring. According to Detective Melanie Robinson...
Drug-filled drone crashes at Arizona prison
Drug-filled drone crashes at Arizona prison

A drone crashed at an Arizona prison in September, and officials found drugs and cellphones aboard the vehicle, The Arizona Republic reported.  The drone crashed in a yard accessible only to corrections officers. The Arizona Department of Corrections said Thursday it is still trying to determine who was behind the delivery Sept. 24 delivery...
More Stories