Science and Technology News

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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