Science and Technology News

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Greenwood Police Buy Smart Tasers That Automatically Turn on Body Cameras
FOX59, (07/11/2016), Aishah Hasnie

Police in Greenwood, Ind., will be getting new smart Tasers next year that will automatically turn on body cameras. As soon as an officer removes the safety on the device, it will signal the body camera to begin recording. It will also automatically activate the camera of any other officer within a 30-yard radius.
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San Jose Police Deploy Body-Worn Cameras
Bay City News, (07/12/2016), Jamey Padojino

San Jose police are among the latest law enforcement officers to begin wearing body cameras. The department tested three camera models last year before choosing a model. Criteria include unlimited storage capacity, lightweight cameras and a cloud-based management software.
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New Hampshire Police Academy Simulator Offers Real-World Scenarios
Government Technology, (07/18/2016), Shawne K. Wickham for The New Hampshire Union Leader

The New Hampshire Police Academy is using a state-of-the-art training simulator that uses 300-degree video images to create real-world scenarios. In the simulator, officers use handguns, Tasers and pepper spray canisters that are designed to feel like the real thing but use lasers instead. The academy's media specialist programs the scenarios and can change what happens in response to the decisions a recruit makes. After a scenario runs, instructors debrief recruits about what they did and whether their actions were legally justified.
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Corrections News

Advocates Fear More Heroin Withdrawal Deaths in Jails
The Washington Post, (07/11/2016) Maryclaire Dale for The Associated Press

There have been at least half a dozen inmate deaths nationwide in the last two years involving heroin withdrawal, and health advocates fear the number will grow given the nation's heroin crisis. Some larger prison systems have programs to help detainees with drug problems, such as a methadone maintenance program at Rikers Island in New York. But smaller jails may lack in-house medical units or sufficient monitoring.
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Wisconsin Supreme Court Allows State to Continue Using Computer Program to Assist in Sentencing
The Capital Times, (07/13/2016), Katelyn Ferral

Wisconsin's Supreme Court has agreed to allow the state to continue using a computer program to help judges determine how criminal defendants should be sentenced. The court ruled that the computer program COMPAS was appropriately used in the case of a man who is serving six years in prison for driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing from police. The justices unanimously upheld the decision of the state's lower courts.
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Device Behind Ear Could Ease Pain of Drug Withdrawal
IndyStar, (06/22/2016), Shari Rudavsky

An Indiana company has developed a device that could ease detox for people addicted to opiates. The Neuro-Stim System Bridge sits behind the ear and sends electrical feedback to the brain, blocking the pain of detox. A person wears the device for five days before turning to long-term assistance such as counseling and medication-assisted treatment. One organization using the device for patients is the Union County Opiate Treatment Center.
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Naloxone to Be Immediately Distributed to Released Inmates in Ontario
The Globe and Mail, (07/04/2016), Karen Howlett and Jane Taber

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins has ordered that the opioid antidote naloxone be distributed to newly released inmates at high risk of overdosing. Hoskins instructed officials in the Ministry of Health to expand the province's naloxone program for public-health units to include inmates.
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Newly Released Inmates Account for 1 in 10 Fatal ODs
HealthDay News, (07/13/2016)

Almost 10 percent of fatal adult drug overdoses may involve recently released prison inmates, a new Canadian study suggests. The study examined overdose mortality rates by matching incarceration records with coroner reports after release, according to study author Dr. Nav Persaud of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Also, the study found that the risk for a fatal overdose among inmates is highest immediately following release. Researchers analyzed data provided by the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, which registered the releases of roughly 50,000 inmates between 2006 and 2013. The release dates were then cross-referenced with coroner report information.
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Local Sex Offender Accused of Playing Pokemon With Teen
Greenfield Daily Reporter, (07/14/2016), Daniel Morgan

A registered sex offender in Indiana was arrested after a probation officer spotted him playing Pokemon Go with a 16-year-old boy on the county courthouse lawn, according to authorities. Randy Zuick, 42, of Greenfield, was booked into the Hancock County Jail on July 13. Court records show that Zuick pleaded guilty in April to a charge of child molesting for fondling a child under 14, and remains on sex-offender probation, which prohibits him from interacting with children, court records show.
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Probation Department Replacing 3,000 Ankle Bracelets for Criminals
WCBV5, (07/07/2016)

The Massachusetts probation department is replacing electronic monitoring ankle bracelets whose signals are not working properly. The department opened an after-hours satellite office inside the Quincy Police Department, where people wearing ankle bracelets who are cut off from the system because the devices are not working properly can have their electronic monitoring units fixed or replaced, and avoid an arrest. Thus far, 403 of the 3,000 units have been replaced; the probation department says the rest will all be replaced in the next few months.
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The Fines and Fees That Keep Former Prisoners Poor
The Atlantic, (07/05/2016), Alana Semuels

Jurisdictions across the U.S. are assessing court fines and fees, called legal financial obligations (LFOs), on defendants, requiring them to pay thousands of dollars or face more jail time, according to Alexes Harris, author of A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions for the Poor. She wrote that the LFOs can "reinforce poverty, destabilize community reentry, and relegate impoverished debtors to a lifetime of punishment because their poverty leaves them unable to fulfill expectations of accountability." Interest is sometimes charged as the fees go unpaid, raising the amount owed. Fines and fees vary by state. Fees can include bench-warrant fees, filing-clerk fees, court-appointed attorney fees, crime-lab analysis fees, DNA-database fees, jury fees, and incarceration costs.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

U.S. Marshals Warn Public Of Pop-Up/Malwarescam Affecting Mobile Devices

Scammers Attempt to Hold Phones, Tablets Hostage For Money

Washington - The U.S. Marshals Service warns the public to avoid downloading malicious software affecting mobile devices; incidents of the digital scam have been reported nationwide after users visit pornography websites. Disguised as a message from the U.S. Marshals, the pop-up malware takes control of the device and populates the screen with a message accusing the user of accessing child pornography. The user is then instructed to pay a fee to avoid prosecution and regain access of their device.

Do not pay the requested fee. The U.S. Marshals Service does not conduct such activity. If you believe you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to your mobile phone carrier, or the FBI at Scams and safety information can be found at

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology News

School for Deaf Testing Frederick Co. Text to 911 System
WTOP, (07/05/2016), Kristi King
In Frederick County, Md., the Emergency Communications Department is working with the Maryland School for the Deaf to ensure that the school's approximately 230 students and staff are familiar with the text-to-911 system. The county has offered the service for three years, but information about its availability was not reaching the deaf and hard of hearing community, which includes some of the people most in need of the service.
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Vermont State Police Debut New Radar Technology, (07/07/2016), Rene Thibault
The Vermont State Police have deployed 10 new radar speed trailers that not only post speed readings for motorists to view, they also collect data related to speed and speed-induced crashes. The trailers were purchased with funds from a $60,000 Governor's Highway Safety Program grant.
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DPD Demonstrates Less Than Lethal Weapons
10-13 ABC, (07/07/2016), Baihly Warfield
The Duluth (Mich.) Police Department has deployed a new less than lethal weapon that launches a 40-mm round with a sponge tip from up to 75 feet away. Officers are being trained to aim for the buttocks, thighs and calves; the devices are being used in place of bean bag rounds and are meant to incapacitate while causing little or no harm.
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NIST Launches 3-D Ballistics Research Database
GCN, (07/12/2016), Mark Rockwell
On July 7, the National Institute of Standards and Technology began providing access to its new 3D Ballistics Research Database for Law Enforcement. The new database uses an open source-developed algorithm that more reliably links bullets to the guns that fired them. The 3D surface maps produce more detailed comparison data than do traditional two-dimensional images.
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Corrections News

Names, Crimes of Yolo County, Calif.'s Early Released Inmates Opened to Public
Government Technology, (07/08/2016), Darrell Smith for the Sacramento Bee
A new website lists the names of designated nonviolent second strike offenders who were sentenced in Yolo County and released early from California prisons. To gain early release, inmates must be within a year of serving 50 percent of their sentence; those serving time for violent felonies and registered sex offenders are not eligible. Local prosecutors contend that these parolees may still present threats, and the names are released as a community service.
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Polygamist Leader Lyle Jeffs Used Olive Oil to Escape From Custody, FBI Says
Fox 13 Salt Lake City, (07/11/2016), Ben Winslow
Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church leader Lyle Jeffs apparently used olive oil or a similar substance to lubricate the ankle strap on his GPS tracking device when he escaped from custody on June 18, according to a statement released by the FBI last week. Lubricating the bracelet did not trigger alarms, and Jeffs' whereabouts are still unknown. Jeffs, a bishop in the FLDS Church, was released while awaiting trial on food stamp fraud and money laundering charges.
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New Jersey Turns to Technology to Keep Offenders Out of Jail
Computer, (07/08/2016), Bill Goodwin
New software in development by the state of New Jersey will create risk profiles that will allow judges to make informed decisions about whether individuals should be released on bail. The software will search multiple court and police databases to assess an individual's flight risk. It will replace a system that often released suspects based on their ability to pay bail.
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South Carolina's Prison Telehealth Deal Is About More Than Healthcare, (07/11/2016), Eric Wicklund
The Medical University of South Carolina will deploy telemedicine carts to four state correctional facilities, allowing doctors to collect vital signs, make diagnoses and prescribe medications via video feed. In addition to reducing direct inmate healthcare costs, the initiative also saves money on prisoner transport, reduces ER caseload and alleviates hospital staff security concerns.
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Inmates in NY Get an Ivy League Education Behind Bars
CBS News, (07/09/2016)
Nearly 900 New York state correctional facility inmates are enrolled in the state's college education program, which offers associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees from 22 institutions of higher education. Colleges and universities participating in the program to send professors to teach inside prison walls include Columbia, Bard, Cornell and Vassar. Statistics indicate the program significantly reduces recidivism, and when Gov. Andrew Cuomo could not get additional funding from the state legislature, he turned to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who diverted $7.5 million in drug forfeiture money.
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Measuring Incarceration: Commentary
The Marshall Project, (07/08/2016), Christian Henrichson
A recent report from the Brennan Center for Justice indicates that 28 states have decreased imprisonment over the past 10 years, but this analysis excludes individuals in local jails, which house one-third of the 2.2 million U.S. prisoners. Jail data often is not included in such analyses because it is not readily available, This creates an important information gap given that sentencing reforms tend to shift the incarcerated population from prison to jail, and a lack of awareness of the implications of jail incarceration rates.
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Technology in the Jailhouse: Knox County Inmates Use Tablets in Cells, (07/07/2016), Lori Tucker
Using a vendor-donated system, inmates in Knox County, Tenn., can rent tablets that allow them to send emails to members of an approved list, make video phone calls, play games and more. The inmates also use the tablets for video visits with family and friends, who can use a kiosk in the detention facility at no charge, or make video visits from their homes at a cost of $6. All visits and messages are monitored. The inmates can rent tablets for $4.99 per day.
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Low-level Offenders Hog Bed Space
El Dorado News-Times, (07/10/2016), Shea Wilson
In an effort to cope with a rising correctional population, Arkansas is moving toward increasing funding for parole officers and relying on probation instead of prison for lower level offenders. The state also has increased funding for mental health services and job skill development for the incarcerated population.
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Bomb Scare at Macon Medical Office Likely Prison Contraband
The Telegraph, (07/11/2016), Liz Fabian
A Macon, Ga., medical office was evacuated on July 10 following a report of a suspicious device in a trash can inside the building. An officer from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office Ordnance Disposal Unit determined the device was a cellphone, possibly left for an inmate from the Georgia Department of Corrections who had a medical appointment later that morning.
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