Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News
FBI Releases 2015 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
FBI, (05/16/2016)

Preliminary statistics released by the FBI show that 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2015, a decrease of almost 20 percent when compared with the 51 officers killed in 2014. Offenders used firearms in 38 of the 41 felonious deaths. An additional 45 officers were killed in 2015 in line-of-duty accidents, which include deaths that are found not to be willful and intentional. Causes include automobile and motorcycle accidents and being struck by vehicles. This total is the same number of officers who were accidentally killed in 2014.
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Detroit Police Officers to Get Body Cameras This Summer
Detroit Free Press, (05/17/2016), Joe Guillen

The Detroit City Council has approved a $5.2-million contract to equip police officers with body cameras. The first 25 body cameras will be issued in June in two precincts, with all 1,500 cameras to be issued over 14 months. The contract includes 450 in-vehicle cameras that will be integrated with the body cameras. A $1 million federal grant will be used to help pay for the cameras.
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New App Allows Users to Livestream Suspicious Activity to Law Enforcement
WTOV9, (05/12/2016), Sarafina Brooks

Residents of a section of Brooke County, W.Va., can now record and stream suspicious activity directly to law enforcement through a smartphone app. People who feel threatened or see suspicious activity can open the ICE Blackbox app and press the record button. It then captures live video and audio and tracks the user's precise GPS location, which is then sent directly to law enforcement and neighborhood watch captains to view in real time.
Link to Article

New Technology Helping Miami Police Pinpoint Gunfire
6SouthFlorida, (05/11/2016), Jamie Guirola

The Miami Police Department have recorded more than 6,900 shots fired since implementing a gunshot detection system last year. The ShotSpotter system uses high-tech audio sensors that are deployed above the street. A gunshot triggers a sensor, alerting police within seconds of the shot and its location. From March 2015 to March 2016, police recorded 6,986 shots fired. Police said statistics show gunfire steadily dropped during the last six months because police were able to respond quicker and saturate hot spots with their presence.
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Corrections News
Settlement Prompts Better Care for Mentally Ill Prisoners, (05/16/2016), Rachel Rodgers

A recent court settlement calls for an overhaul of the Illinois Department of Corrections policies toward mentally ill offenders. The settlement stemming from a class action lawsuit first filed in 2007 and approved by a federal judge in May 2016 includes providing short- and long-term care in residential treatment centers for prisoners requiring hospitalization, hiring more than 300 new clinical staff and 400 new security staff, and increasing out-of-cell time for prisoners kept in solitary confinement.
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Throwing of Banned Items into Prisons More Than Doubles
BBC News, (05/16/2016), Noel Titheradge

More than 2,000 banned items, including drugs and mobile phones, were thrown into prisons in England and Wales last year, according to a BBC report. Methods include smuggling drugs in dead birds and sending them over prison walls with tennis racquets. In 2013, contraband was recorded as having been thrown over into prisons 797 times. The BBC also reported that more than 1,000 weapons were found in prisons in England and Wales in the last six months of 2015. The figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in response to a freedom of information request.
Link to Article

Lawmakers: Banning Sex Offenders From Social Media Is Easier Said Than Done
WINKNews, (05/10/2016)

Florida law requires sexual offenders and predators to register their Internet information, including emails and social media accounts, with their probation officers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and their local sheriff's office. State lawmaker Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen said the state tried to strike a balance by monitoring offenders' online activity while allowing access to help offenders restart their lives.
Link to Article

Prison Officials Blame Providers for Inmate Cellphone Use
KITV, (05/11/2016), Sally Sears

Georgia prison officials are calling on cellphone provides to do more to prevent inmates from successfully using contraband cellphones for illegal activity. The state has implemented technology in a multimillion dollar effort to disable phones to block contraband calls, which has sometimes been successful. But Ricky Myrick, Georgia Corrections Director of Professional Standards, said major telecom providers could do more to help. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has called for the jamming of signals, which is limited under federal law. Most Georgia cellphone service providers are members of the CITA trade association, which says illegal cellphones are a contraband problem, not a policy issue for wireless providers.
Link to Article

Prisons Battle Wave of Social Media Posts, Cell Phone Use by Inmates
GreenvilleOnline, (05/13/2016), Tim Smith

So far this year, 66 state inmates in South Carolina have been disciplined for creating or assisting on social media sites, despite a ban on cell phones inside prisons and a lack of inmate access to computers. Prison officials consider such access a serious issue because inmates can engage in criminal activity and can use smuggled cell phones to post to the web. Bryan Stirling, the director of South Carolina's prison system, said correctional officers found more than 4,100 cell phones or accessories in prisons last year. He said rural states such as South Carolina should be allowed to use jamming technology to combat smuggled cell phones.
Link to Article

War on Contraband in Jails
KATC, (05/12/2016), Mycah Hatfield

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in Louisiana is taking steps to try to keep contraband out of the facility. The facility will start scanning all letters sent to the jail; inmates will get a digital copy instead of paper. In the future, officials plan to ask for funding to buy a body scanning machine.
Link to Article

Cellphone Helped Imprisoned Killer Run Drug Ring Taking in Up to $1 Million a Week, Prosecutor Alleges
Tulsa World, (05/16/2016), Sheila Stogsdill

Use of a contraband cellphone helped an inmate run a multistate drug ring out of an Oklahoma prison, prosecutors say. The alleged drug ring was based in Miami, Okla., and operated in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, moving methamphetamine worth between $250,000 and $1 million a week. Ten arrests have been made in the case. The alleged ring leader is serving a life sentence at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester for the 1999 shooting death of a sheriff's reserve deputy. The state Department of Corrections confiscated 7,000 contraband cellphones last year, and formed a strike force in January to crack down on the contraband.
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