Science and Technology News

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

City Approves Money for New Crime Lab Technology
KOAT, (08/17/2016), Kirsten Swanson

The Albuquerque Police Department will be getting equipment and training for a local system of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). The city council approved $140,000 for the equipment. Managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, NIBIN is a database that allows for comparison of ballistic evidence.
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Active Shooter Kits Provide 'Good Insurance' for North Dakota Departments in Light of Recent Police Shootings
Grand Forks Herald, (08/26/2016), April Baumgarten

The Walsh County Sheriff's Department in North Dakota is purchasing 11 active shooter kits for its deputies. Each kit has armor plates, a plate carrier, a medical kit and ballistic helmet. Total cost for all the kits is $7,700.
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Courts News

Judicial Council Approves Process for Awarding $25 Million for Court Innovations
Judicial Council of California, (08/25/2016)

California's Judicial Council has adopted a process to award $25 million in grant funding to promote innovative and efficient programs in the courts. The council is the policymaking body of the California courts. Funding for courts will be available beginning fiscal year 2016-17, and will support innovative programs in areas such as technology, collaborative courts, and family and juvenile courts.
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Corrections News

Arkansas Prison System to Shut Down Its Boot Camp; Not Popular With inmates, Board Told
ArkansasOnline, (08/25/2016), John Moritz

The Arkansas Department of Corrections will discontinue its boot camp program. Department of Corrections Director Wendy Kelley received approval from the Board of Corrections to disband the program once the current set of inmates complete the course. The program was created in 1989 to enforce military-style discipline with inmates before their release. But the program has had high recidivism rates and was not filled to capacity.
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Authorities Bust Pair Trying to Smuggle Contraband into Oklahoma Prison
NBC News, (08/25/2016), Corky Siemaszko

An attempt to smuggle contraband into an Oklahoma prison was foiled by correctional officers. The Jess Dunn Correctional Center is a minimum-security facility in Taft, Okla., with dormitory-style buildings surrounded by high fences. Officials say an inmate at the prison allegedly sneaked out of his building to an area of the prison grounds where an accomplice was waiting outside the fence. The plan was to throw duffle bags containing cellphones, chargers, rolling papers, tobacco, marijuana and lighters over the fence to the inmate, but two correctional officers on patrol intervened and both men were arrested.
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Iowa Approves Gender Dysphoria Policy for Prison System
The Des Moines Register, (08/23/2016), William Petroski

The Iowa Department of Corrections is implementing a new gender dysphoria policy that requires prison staffers to use an inmate's preferred first name in communications and preferred pronoun. The policy also requires individual plans for gender dysphoria medical care that will include an assessment of the need for cross-hormonal therapy. Gender dysphoria refers to the discomfort and distress experienced by people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with.
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Alcohol Monitoring Technology Safeguards Public in Volunteer State
American City & County, (08/24/2016), Michael Keating for the Government Product News

The Hamilton County Corrections Department in Tennessee is using alcohol monitoring technology to deter repeat offenses. The department has been using SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM CAM) and SCRAM Remote Breath to monitor alcohol-involved offenders. The monitoring technologies allows for customized supervision based on a person's risk factors. SCRAM CAM provides 24/7 alcohol monitoring and optional house arrest, while SCRAM Remote Breath is a mobile breath tester for lower level offenders.
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Hoping to Reduce Recidivism, Maryland Introduces Tech to Juvenile Facilities
Government Technology, (08/25/2016), Erica L. Green for The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland State Department of Education will make available 300 tablet devices to youths detained in the state's 13 juvenile facilities to help with education. Juvenile offenders in Maryland are entitled by law to receive the same education as their peers in public schools.
Link to Article

Swiss Prisons Fear Drone Deliveries to Inmates
The Local, (08/30/2016)

Several prisons in Switzerland are researching how to counter possible attempts to use drones to deliver contraband to prisoners. Using radar, GPS or monitoring radio waves are being investigated as possible ways to detect drones. Some smaller prisons are considering putting nets over their exercise yards to defend against drones.
Link to Article

Vlahakis: Sobriety Program Working in Yankton County
Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, (08/28/2016), Shauna Marlette

Yankton County is among jurisdictions in South Dakota using the 24-7 Sobriety Program, which provides an option to incarceration for an offender who commits and alcohol or drug-related crime. Options include twice a day breath tests (PBT), a SCRAM bracelet (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring), drug testing by urinalysis, an ignition interlock system and a drug patch. Yankton County began using the program in 2007. Sheriff Jim Vlahakis noted that so far this year they have done 10,468 PBT tests, 64 of which have failed, which is less than a 1 percent fail rate.
Link to Article

Kansas Launching Automated Crime Victim Notification System
Lawrence Journal-World, (08/23/2016), Peter Hancock

The state of Kansas is launching the Kansas Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system to allow crime victims to track offenders being held in county correctional facilities. The telephone and web-based notification system is operated by the attorney general's office in collaboration with the Kansas Department of Labor and the Kansas Sheriffs Association. People can register with the system to receive automatic notifications about their offender's status, including the facilities where they are being held and their scheduled date of release.
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Scanner Helps Stop Drugs Sneaking into Orange County Jail
Orlando Sentinel, (08/24/2016), Stephanie Allen

Orange County Jail officers have been using a new X-ray scanner system since April to deter contraband smuggling by incoming inmates. The jail has averaged about eight contraband incidents a month so far this year, which is down from about 11 a month during all of 2015, according to recently released data. The SecurPass scanner is a full-body digital scanner, similar to ones used in airports.
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