Science and Technology News

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Westerville Police Investigating If Thieves Are Using New Technology to Break into Cars
10TV, (08/31/2016), Maureen Kocot

Police in Westerville, Ohio, are investigating whether thieves are exploiting security gaps in technology to break into locked cars. In the overnight hours of July 28, officers investigated seven car break-ins in the same neighborhood. Four victims at three locations say their cars were locked, and there was no sign of a forced break-in. The National Crime Insurance Bureau says such mystery break-ins of cars could be due to the use of devices that confuse keyless entry cars into thinking the fob is nearby, amplifying the signal it emits.
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Somerset Police Create Database of Surveillance Cameras
WJAR, (08/31/2016), Tony Gugliotta

The police department in Somerset, Mass., is among the latest law enforcement departments to ask members of the community to be willing to share camera surveillance video to help solve crimes. Police are asking residents and businesses to register their surveillance cameras with the department. Footage could be helpful in the event a crime occurs that is caught on camera. About 40 residents and businesses have signed up so far.
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Residents Donate 170 Body Armor Kits to Texas Police Department
Beaumont Enterprise, (09/01/2016), Sara Flores

Police in Beaumont, Texas, will have access to body armor kits thanks to the generosity of the community. Patrol division officers currently wear soft body armor on a daily basis. Two 16-pound hard body armor kits will be placed in each of the approximately 60 patrol cars for officers to don during an active shooting scenario. The donation effort, led by Judge Cory Crenshaw, is valued at $100,000.
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Corrections News
Non-Profit Pilots Delivery of Offline OER for Prisoner Education
Campus Technology, (09/01/2016), Dian Schaffhauser

A non-profit organization has received a $250,000 donation to develop a prison education technology pilot program in the United States. The project from World Possible will expand the use of RACHEL-Plus (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning), a technology developed by the organization that combines a collection of websites with an Intel Education Content Access Point (CAP), which creates a wireless hotspot in a setting with no Internet connectivity to give browser-based content access to the user.
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To Work on Parole Boards, No Experience Necessary
Governing, (September 2016), Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene

Risk assessment tools are making their way into parole systems, incorporating data to analyze the likelihood of recidivism. Jeff Anderson, manager of the Office of Research and Planning at the Michigan Department of Corrections, says the data "gives the parole board more support to estimate the potential [of an individual] to commit a crime." The goal is to help parole officials be more precise and informed about their decisions. Some factors used in various states' risk assessments are whether the inmate was convicted of a violent crime; the age of first offense; and the number of violent and nonviolent crimes committed in the past.
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This Device Could Help Prevent Drunk Driving, But It's Not Commonly Used Here
The Telegraph, (09/04/2016), Laura Corley

Interlock ignition devices used to keep people from drinking and driving are sparsely used in Bibb County, Ga. The devices are wired into an automobile's starting system. Users must blow into the device and pass a breath test, or the car won't start. About one in 25 people convicted of DUI end up using the interlock ignition device, according to Macon-Bibb Solicitor General Rebecca Grist. In Georgia, drivers convicted of a second DUI within five years are mandated to have the devices, and users must pay the cost of device installation and a monthly fee. But the mandatory use can be waived for offenders who can show the court that they can't afford it.
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"Video Visitations" Popular for Inmates at King County Jails
KomoNews, (09/04/2016), Matt Markovich

Inmates inside the King County Jail system in Washington State can video chat with friends and family. The system provides the ability to video chat from anywhere in the world via the Internet with someone in a King County jail using a smart phone app or a video terminal inside the jail lobby.
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Pigeon Caught Trying to Smuggle Cellphone into Prison
New York Post, (08/31/2016), Yaron Steinbuch

Officials at a Colombia prison caught a pigeon with a cellphone strapped to its back. Two guards waylaid the bird at the Combita prison, and removed the harness holding the phone. Prison officials said they are investigating which inmate was behind the smuggling attempt.
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Woman Removes Ankle Monitor, Tries to Put It Back On With Duct Tape: COPS
Oak Lawn Patch, (09/03/2016), Lorraine Swanson

An Illinois woman on electronic home monitoring for allegedly battering a police officer in July was arrested after she allegedly removed the device in August and tried to put it back on her ankle with duct tape. Police arrested the Oak Lawn woman in July when she threw a phone that hit an Oak Lawn police officer. She was given a $10,000 I-bond and placed on electronic monitoring.
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Incarcerated Deaf People Need a Way to Reach the Outside World, But No One Is Listening, (09/05/2016), Jack Smith IV

Technology systems to help hearing-impaired inmates communicate are often antiquated or in disrepair. The FCC currently requires that prisons offer access to a "TTY" service, which are electronic keyboards first invented in the 1960s. A survey by Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf found that only 19 percent of deaf inmates have access to TTY systems in good working condition. More modern technology uses video relay screens, which allows deaf prisoners to sign on camera to an interpreter, who reads out the English to whoever they're calling.
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Pound Puppy Turned Police 'Porn Dog'
CNN, (09/06/2016), Ana Cabrera

The Weber County Sheriff's office in Utah is using a black Labrador named URL, rescued from the pound, to sniff out electronic storage media by hunting the unique chemical compounds emitted from flash drives, memory cards, cellphones, iPads and other similar devices. While dogs like URL can't tell detectives if a device contains electronic evidence, they can find devices that humans might otherwise miss.
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Rethinking Justice: Can Data-Driven Approaches Remove Politics and Bias from Policing?
Government Technology, (09/02/2016), Colin Wood

This article discusses different approaches to justice policies, such as the Justice Reinvention Initiative, a data-driven approach to improve public safety and identify and implement changes to reduce recidivism. Police departments such as Dallas are using data-driven policing and increasing transparency of operations.
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