Science and Technology News

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

NYPD Will Add Cameras to Prisoner Transport Vans
Gothamist, (09/21/2016), Gaby Del Valle

Gothamist, (09/21/2016), Gaby Del Valle
The New York City Police Department plans to retrofit all 110 prisoner transport vans already in service with security cameras, at a cost of $2,100; new vans coming online will also carry the equipment. A department spokesperson said this is not a direct result of the circumstances surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in spring 2015, but rather part of an effort to improve prisoner and officer safety.
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Miami-Dade High School Preparing Students for Law Enforcement Careers
Education on 6, (09/21/2016), Ari Odzer

Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, located adjacent to the Miami Police Department, enrolls fewer than 500 students in three core disciplines: forensics, courts or homeland security. The students, all of whom choose to attend the school, graduate with an AA degree and certification that allows them to enroll in a four-year institution of higher learning or attend a police academy.
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Nederland Police Using Beanbag Rounds to Move Wildlife Out of Town
Fox 31 Denver, (09/21/2016), Kyle Horan

The police department in Nederland, Colo., plans to use bean bag rounds to move elk, moose and other large wildlife out of inhabited areas, reducing the likelihood of the animals' becoming comfortable around humans. Wildlife can destroy property, and interactions with humans often end badly. The town has had 48 incidents involving animals in the past two years, and the decision to use the bean bags is based in part of their successful use by other Colorado agencies.
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NFCA/E-ISAC Rapid Deployment Project
Information Sharing Environment, (09/13/2016), Fred Hintermister (Blog)

The Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) is working with the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA) to examine the possibility of using the National Fusion Center network to convene electrical infrastructure subject-matter experts who need rapid access to classified data or communications systems in the event of an emergency. These localized information-sharing hubs bring together federal, state, local, tribal and territorial partners, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Depending on the size and nature of a cyberterrorism incident, the network could host the SMEs and provide information needed to help inform their recommendations.
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Ocoee Police Improves Crime Analysis With New Software
West Orange Times & Observer, (09/25/2016), Gabby Baquero

For a yearly subscription cost of approximately $700, the Ocoee Police Department has begun subscribing to Internet-based software that allows officers to create their own area-specific crime maps. For example, a patrol sergeant could use the tool to improve duty assignments in a specific area. Also, area residents can use an interactive feature on the website to search the database and to set up personalized text alerts.
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Can 'Predictive Policing' Prevent Crime Before It Happens?
Science, (09/28/2016), Mara Hvistendahl

Homewood, a predominantly black area of Pittsburgh, will be the pilot area for the city's predictive policing tool, CrimeScan, starting in October. As part of the project, patrol vehicle laptops will display maps showing locations where crime is likely to occur, based on algorithms developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. The algorithms draw on fields as diverse as seismology and epidemiology, and may help reduce bias in policing as they replace less scientific methods of determining crime patterns. However, citizens groups are concerned they may perpetuate bias in new ways.
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Man vs. Machine: L.A. Sheriff's Deputies Use Robot to Snatch Rifle From Barricaded Suspect, End Standoff
Los Angeles Times, (09/15/2016), Richard Winton and Matt Hamilton

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies used a robot to grab a rifle from a suspect and end a standoff in the high desert outside the city. The man, suspected of killing one person and robbing two others, hid in a shrubbery-covered berm in a dark field. When the deputies deployed the robot to give them a better look at the suspect, they realized the rifle was lying at his feet. While deputies in an armored vehicle approached from the front and distracted him, the robot grabbed the rifle from behind. It was the first such use of the robot by the department.
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Corrections News
Nebraska Prisons to Launch Sentence-Calculating Software
Kansas City Star, (09/21/2016), Grant Schulte of Associated Press

The Nebraska Department of Corrections has begun using a new software program to automatically calculate prisoners' release dates. The software should help the department avoid continuation of widespread release date errors, which resulted in hundreds of inmates not completing their full court-ordered sentences.
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5 Investigates on Suboxone -- the New Jailhouse Drug of Choice
WCVB5, (09/23/2016), Kathy Curran

Large amounts of contraband prescription opiate Suboxone are finding their way into correctional facilities in Massachusetts. A prescription drug intended to help fight opiate addiction, the drug is easy to smuggle because large quantities of the strips fit into very small packages.
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Report: Probation, Parole Sentences Decrease Without Risking Public Safety, (09/04/2016), Megan Favignano

Individuals convicted of lower-level, usually nonviolent, felonies in Missouri can earn early discharge credits from probation or parole. These offenders can shorten their sentences by 30 days for every calendar month they follow the conditions of their sentences, and according to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, they are not re-offending at a higher rate than individuals who serve their full sentences. The program was created under the 2012 Justice Reinvestment Act, which aimed to reduce the incarceration of people convicted of lower-level crimes while investing the resulting savings into alternatives to incarceration.
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NC Offenders Tampering With Monitoring Devices on the Rise, Officials Say, (09/23/2016), David Hurst

In North Carolina, nearly 3,500 offenders are monitored via tracking devices, an increase from 876 just five years ago. The North Carolina Department of Corrections says there has been a corresponding increase in device tampers, with records showing nearly 800 recorded tampers so far this year. Although one of those came from an offender who cut off his device to commit a triple murder, a spokeswoman for the DOC says the majority of those apparent tampers came from wear and tear, rather than deliberate attempts to remove a device.
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California State Sheriffs' Association Says In-person Visits Cost Too Much
23ABC News Bakersfield, (09/21/2016)

The president of the California State Sheriffs' Association has spoken out against a proposed measure that would require jails to allow in-person visits, even if they have video visitation programs. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood says not allowing in-person visits is a question of safety, because those visits are too rife with opportunities for the introduction of contraband into a facility. The bill is waiting for approval or veto from Gov. Jerry Brown.
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Alabama Prison Guards Went on Strike, Department of Corrections Confirms, (09/26/2016), Connor Sheets

The failure of nine third-shift correctional officers to report to work Saturday at Alabama's William C. Holman Correctional Facility has been claimed as a strike in support of inmate laborers by an inmate advocacy group. Inmates at various facilities across the country have been on strike for two weeks to protest "inhumane living conditions and unfair employment practices in prisons."
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Number of Texas Prison Inmates Coming Out as Transgender at All-time High
Dallas Morning News, (09/27/2016), Lauren McGaughy

The number of individuals in Texas prisons and jails identifying as transgender stands at 333 people, an approximately 500-percent increase from the 67 reported two years ago. Under new federal rules that seek to reduce inmate sexual assault, special accommodations for transgender inmates include prohibiting strip or cavity searches by a guard of the opposite gender, allowing transgender inmates who have been the targets of violence to be housed in protective custody and requiring that officials at least consider an inmate's gender identity when deciding on housing assignments. Also, In August 2015, the Texas Department of Corrections said it would expand access to hormone therapy for transgender inmates.
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