Science and Technology News

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Digital Forensics Rescues Retro Video Games and Software
Imperial Valley News, (09/13/2016), Richard Press
The National Software Reference Library (NSRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., contains the largest collection in the world of software titles in numerous versions, which can serve as a forensic tool for law enforcement and national security investigators. Every file has a unique hash, or "digital fingerprint," and investigators can use these markers to quickly locate evidence on computers and hard drives seized as evidence.
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Dutch Police Unleash Drone-hunting Eagles and Buy Some Chicks
Geek, (09/13/2016), Jordan Minor
After a successful pilot program, Dutch police have begun using drone-hunting eagles around airports and other sensitive space. The eagles have been trained to see the drones as prey, and they are paired with Dutch police officers who will target the drone operators and collect the seized drones when the eagles land.
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2 Officers Shot While Answering Call in Fort Worth
Standard-Times, (09/16/2016)
A Ft. Worth police officer survived a shooting on September 16 thanks to his ballistic-resistant body armor. Two officers responded to a call about an apparent suicide and after finding an unresponsive man, went to a nearby shed in search of a witness. A suspect opened fire from inside the shed and wounded both officers.  Both are expected to survive.
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Learning to Apply a Tourniquet Stressed as Active Shooter Events Increase
Lincoln Journal-Star, (09/19/2016), Nancy Hicks
Because many of the victims in mass casualty events bleed to death before medical assistance arrives, law enforcement officers are learning new first aid and trauma treatment techniques that may help save lives. As part of this growing trend, police cruisers and fire and rescue vehicles in Lincoln, Neb., are now equipped with new trauma kits and some 300 officers have received training in the use of combat application tourniquets, which require only one hand to apply. Link to Article

Philadelphia Gunman, 'Driven by Hatred,' Ambushed Officer, Then Went on Deadly Rampage
Washington Post, (09/18/2016), Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
A Philadelphia police sergeant survived an ambush attack on the evening of September 17, when two of the shots fired by an assailant apparently motivated by anger at the police lodged in her ballistic-resistant vest. Sgt. Sylvia Young did sustain non-life-threatening injuries to her arm during an 18-shot barrage of gunfire; the gunman went on to shoot six other people, including one woman who died from her injuries.
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The Story Behind the Smartphone Terror Alert in NYC
CNNMoney, (09/19/2016), Seth Fiegerman
In the wake of the explosion that rocked Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on September 17, officials used cell towers to send an emergency alert about the wanted suspect to the smartphones of everyone in the New York City area. The New York City police commissioner praised the system as the wave of the future; however, some members of the public criticized the idea.
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New Haven Considers Giving Cops Cell Phones so Residents Have Instant Access
New Haven Register, (09/18/2016), Juliemar Ortiz
The mayor of New Haven has announced a plan to put cellphones in the hands of all walking beat and patrol officers, a goal aimed at improving community policing and making officers more accessible. However, the plan is still in preliminary stages and in the meantime, many officers give out their personal cellphones to residents on their beats.
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Corrections News

Q&A: Trends in Green Design
Correctional News, (09/12/2016), Lindsey Coulter
This article presents a question-and-answer session with two industry experts about the green technologies that provide the best return on investment for correctional facilities, the best up-and-coming technologies, and how facilities could better adapt the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification process.
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Ohio Schools Add ID Scanners to Recognize Visitors on Sex Offender List
Government Technology, (09/14/2016), Bill Bush for the Columbus Dispatch
Many schools in Franklin County, Ohio, now require all visitors to show a government-issued photo ID before they will be admitted. The ID is scanned into a device that checks the person against a national sex offenders' database before printing out a visitors' sticker. However, one local school has discontinued the practice due to too many false positives generated by similar names.
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Daviess County Jail Installs New Body Scanner to Detect Contraband
WKU, (09/15/2016), Rhonda Miller
The jail in Kentucky's Daviess County has a new state-of-the-art body scanner for use in detecting contraband. Similar to those used at airports, the machine uses DruGuard technology to make two scans from different angles to help detect hidden items.
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Norway Proves That Treating Prison Inmates as Human Beings Actually Works
WorldPost, (08/03/2016), Baz Dreisinger
In a modified excerpt from Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World, a 2016 non-fiction release, this piece presents a profile of Bastoy Prison in Norway, considered a worldwide model for open prisons.
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California Wants to Stop County Jails From Banning Visitors
Quartz, (09/18/2016), Hanna Kozlowska
A bill that requires all county jails to allow inmates to have in-person visits with friends and family has passed the California legislature and now needs Governor Jerry Brown's signature, which is due by September 30. Many jails and prisons across the country have implemented policies allowing video visitation only as a cost-cutting and security measure, but this policy may contribute to feelings of inmate isolation and eventual recidivism.
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SC Prisons to Get Cell Phone Finder Technology
News13, (09/16/2016), Robert Kittle
The South Carolina Department of Corrections plans to begin using cell phone signal triangulation technology to help locate contraband cell phones within correctional facilities. The state plans to begin implementation in prisons where the most dangerous inmates are located, at an initial cost of just over $1 million. The technology has proven successful in another state that already uses it.
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Parents of Woman Killed by Estranged Husband Question Use of Electronic Ankle Monitor, (09/14/2016)
The parents of a West Finley, Pa., woman who was killed by her husband after he removed an electronic ankle monitor want to know why a violent offender was fitted with the device and released into the general population. The Washington County program is intended for monitoring alcohol use, and it is unclear why the judge in this case placed Kevin Ewing in the program in spite of a request by the District Attorney's office.
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More Ohio Inmates Caught Smuggling Cellphones
Dayton Daily News, (09/18/2016), Laura A. Bischoff
In a three-year span between 2011 and 2014, contraband seizures by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction increased 222 percent for cell phones, 173 percent for tobacco, 109 percent for drugs and alcohol, and 10.8 percent for weapons. Inmates come up with increasingly creative ways to smuggle contraband, which can mean lots of money if sold behind prison walls.
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D.C. Mayor Cites Rape Case in Pushing to Close GPS Loophole
Washington Post, (09/15/2016), Aaron C. Davis and Amy Brittain
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has stated that she plans to make it a priority to propose a law that makes it a crime for offenders to tamper with their GPS monitoring devices. Bowser cited the case of Antwon Pitt, who was found with a disabled device but incurred no penalty. Several days later, Pitt raped and beat a woman in her home. The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in 2014 that penalties applied only to criminals explicitly required to wear GPS devices by judges or the U.S. Parole Commission; however, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency monitors convicts in the District, including those wearing GPS devices. The Pitt case has served as an impetus for re-examining the issue.
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Proper Hand Protection to Prevent Infection, (09/19/2016), Vicky Adams
Protection from infectious disease can present a major challenge for correctional facilities. The two best preventive methods are frequent handwashing, using proper handwashing techniques, and wearing gloves when the situation requires it. This articles takes an in-depth look at how to properly wash hands and at the various types of gloves available.
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Visit JUSTNET to Read the Final Report of the NIJ Law Enforcement Aviation Technology Program

Through the Justice Technology Information Center and JUSTNET, the final report of the NIJ Law Enforcement Aviation Technology Program (LEAPT) has been released. You can read about the 10-year project to identify and evaluate cost-effective alternatives to traditional aviation assets for use in surveillance and other law enforcement operations at

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Cop Shot, Injured in Butts County
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (09/13/2016)

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of a patrol officer in Jackson overnight Tuesday. Officer Sherry Hall approached a man sitting on the shoulder of a road to see if he needed assistance; the man became argumentative and then fired a shot at her, authorities said. Hall sustained a deep bruise in the abdomen but the bullet was stopped from penetrating by her ballistic-resistant vest. The officer returned fire but the man fled into nearby woods.
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Marshall, TX Police Acquire New Use of Force Training Simulator
KSLA, (09/06/2016)

The Marshall Police Department has a new simulator to help with use of force training. The simulator is pre-loaded with nearly 600 different scenarios and approximately 50 new scenarios are added each year. The scenarios require the officer to respond appropriately to everything from simple verbal commands to necessary lethal force.
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UNT Students Will Soon Help the Feds Investigate Cellphone Cyber Crimes
North Texas Daily, (09/01/2016), Steven Payne

The University of North Texas plans to open a cellphone cyber security lab at UNT Frisco, thanks to a $350,000 donation from an alumnus. The cyber laboratory will assist police departments and federal agencies in investigations by analyzing cellphone data from devices used in criminal activities. The lab will provide students in the College of Criminal Justice with the opportunity to gain experience working with professional analysts and law enforcement.
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APD Receives Grant to Help With DNA Lab Backlog
CBS Austin, (09/12/2016), (09/12/2016)

Austin police will use a $200,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice to help reduce the backlog of DNA testing of evidence, including sexual assault kits. The department temporarily shut down its DNA testing lab in June due to concerns raised by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. The department plans to reopen the lab next year. It will also look in the budget to find additional money for the tests. When the lab shut down in June, there was a backlog of 3,000 sexual assault kits awaiting testing. Since then, according to the SAFE alliance, 1,400 additional cases have been added, 700 which are from sexual assaults. While the APD lab is shut down, the Texas Department of Public Safety is testing 20 samples per month.
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Newberry County Sheriff's Office Receives Grant for Body Cams
WACH, (09/09/2016), Matthew Stevens

The Newberry County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina has received $118,000 from the state to supply its deputies with body cameras. The next step is to meet with prospective vendors, followed by a bidding process and finally the implementation of the cameras.
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Fulton Police to Start Using Body-Worn Cameras
The Marietta Daily Journal, (09/09/2016), Ross Williams

The Fulton County Police Department in Georgia is purchasing body cameras for its officers and in-car video cameras at a cost of about $400,000. According to the police department, there is no specific timeline on equipment delivery but the agency anticipates being fully deployed by year's end.
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Corrections News

First Aid for Mental Health: A New Approach in Pennsylvania's Prisons
CNN, (09/05/2016), Sarah Jorgensen, Brian Vitagliano and Bryce Urbany

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections overhauled its approach to inmate mental health care following an investigation by the Department of Justice that focused on the treatment of inmates with mental illness and the use of solitary confinement. Inmates with mental illness can no longer be held in solitary confinement. Also, all staff members are trained in Mental Health First Aid. Trainees learn how to identify warning signs of a suicide attempt and how to intervene when someone is experiencing delusions, and are educated on the various symptoms of different mental illnesses. Also, inmates can participate in the training to become peer-to-peer counselors for other inmates.
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Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply
Pew Charitable Trusts, (09/07/2016)

The number of accused and convicted criminal offenders monitored with electronic tracking devices in the United States increased 140 percent between 2005 and 2015, from approximately 53,000 to more than 125,000, according to a survey. The survey conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust counted the number of active GPS and radio-frequency units reported by the companies that manufacture and operate them. Correctional authorities use tracking devices such as ankle bracelets to monitor compliance with conditions of pretrial release, probation or parole.
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Use of Ankle Monitors Surges, But Effectiveness a Question
U.S. News & World Report, (09/07/2016), Alan Neuhauser

Use of electronic tracking devices has climbed 140 percent in the past 10 years, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. But there has been little study of how well the devices affect recidivism or ensure pre-trial defendants show up for court. Adam Gelb, director of Pew's Public Safety Performance Project, which produced the report, said, "That's fairly rapid growth of a new technology throughout the system without a solid research base that shows when and how the technology would be most effective. There are some indications that electronic monitoring can reduce recidivism, but at this point it's not clear for which offenders or at what stage of the process."
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Why Prisoners Nationwide Are Striking
CBS News, (09/09/2012), Aimee Picchi

Inmates in the U.S. planned a work strike for September 9, calling for an end to forced labor and what they call "prison slavery." Prisoners wash floors, work in the laundries and kitchens, and provide a large amount of the labor that keeps their facilities running. In return, they earn pennies per hour or even no pay at all. The results of the strike won't be known for days or weeks, said Azzurra Crispino, the media co-chair for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. "By withdrawing from participation in their work, they believe it's the best way to have an impact on the prison industrial complex," she said. "This is not a one-day strike. The solutions to this problem are going to require at the very least a constitutional amendment change to be effective."
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Safety Improvements Coming to Rikers Island
News12, (09/01/2016)

Technology upgrades are coming to Rikers Island to address safety concerns among corrections officers. Upgrades include contraband scanners and Tasers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the scanners will be similar to what airports use, and the Tasers will be used to break up small fights and prevent officers from having to wrestle inmates to the ground.
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Incarceration in the U.S. Costs More Than $1 Trillion a Year, Washington University Study Claims
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (09/10/2016), Kristen Taketa

The economic toll of incarceration in the United States tops $1 trillion, and more than half of that falls on the families and communities of the people incarcerated, according to a study by Washington University researchers. The study's authors claim to be the first to assign an actual dollar amount to the societal costs of incarceration, not just the governmental costs of running corrections systems, which many experts estimate to be $80 billion. Some of the societal costs of incarceration include the wages people no longer earn while imprisoned and the amount of lifetime earnings they will likely lose on release because of employment restrictions and discrimination against the formerly incarcerated.
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