Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

One Month Later, 911 Texting Services Off to Successful Start
Oregon Live, (10/05/2016), Samantha Matsumoto

In its first month of use by the dispatch center in Portland, Ore., the new text-to-911 system has received 208 messages from residents who were unable to call due to physical limitations or fear of being overheard. The Portland Dispatch Center Consortium implemented the service in six counties on August 23; plans call for statewide expansion over a two-year period. The state funded the $15,000 technology installation.
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Virginia Law Enforcement Get Cell Phones to Help Domestic Violence Victims
Delmarva Public Radio, (10/6/2015), Don Rush

Verizon Wireless is loaning 500 cell phones to Virginia police officers through a partnership with the Virginia Attorney General's office. The officers use the phones to connect individuals perceived to be at risk of domestic violence with needed services. Many of the Commonwealth's law enforcement officers are not permitted to carry their own cell phones and they cannot provide this needed service without a phone.
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Courts News

Court Security Officers Get Time on Simulator
The Sentinel-Record, (10/06/2016)

Court security deputies and transport officers in Garland County, Ark., recently took "shoot/don't shoot" simulator training by using the safety of a projection screen to test their ability to make split-second decisions. Experiencing these kind of stressful situations in practice should make them easier to handle if the officers ever face similar situations in real life. The simulator is part of National Park College's criminal justice program.
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Corrections News

80 at Maryland Prison Indicted in 'Deeply Rooted' Smuggling Ring
The Salisbury, Md. Times, (10/05/2016), Henry Culvyhouse

Federal grand jury indictments returned on September 29 were unsealed on October 5 against 18 correctional officers, 35 inmates and 27 outside "facilitators" for a racketeering operation at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Md. The defendants were charged for allegedly paying bribes to correctional officers to smuggle contraband, including narcotics, tobacco and cellphones.
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Macon County Jail to Get Digital Upgrade
Herald & Review, (10/08/2016), Ryan Voyles

The Macon County Jail in Decatur, Ga., will implement the Guard #1 Plus system, which allows officers to digitally mark off and time stamp cells they have checked. Presently, the guards submit a written report following their cell check rounds, and supervisors review video feeds to ensure the accuracy of the reports.
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DOJ Investigating Violence and Rape Inside Alabama Men's Prisons, (10/06/2016), Kent Faulk

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced an investigation into a number of issues of concern in men's prisons in the state of Alabama, including violence, rape and overcrowding. The major issues to be addressed include whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and sexual abuse at the hands of correctional officers; and whether the systems provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions.
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Jerry Brown Pushes Earlier Release of Felons Under Proposition 57
KPBS, (10/10/2016), Marisa Lagos

Some 40 years after Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 42 in California, which created a determinate sentencing structure that put a stop to the majority of open-ended prison terms and gave inmates a set release date, he's asking voters to pass Proposition 57. The new legislation allows for early release of certain prisoners as approved by the state parole board. Prosecutors are campaigning against the legislation.
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Confidence High in Electronic Monitoring Despite Brown's Park Case
Press of Atlantic City, (10/11/2016), John DeRosier

Ibn Hunter, 25, of Atlantic City allegedly removed his electronic monitoring device on October 2 and escaped supervision; as of October 10, he had not been captured. Hunter had posted $100,000 bail while facing aggravated assault and weapons charges. According to a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the number of individuals wearing these devices has risen by nearly 140 percent in the past 10 years, but few try to escape.
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Jails Consider Body Scan Devices to Curtail Contraband
Bowling Green Daily News, (10/07/2016), Deborah Highland

Some Kentucky jails already use low-dose radiation full-body scans to search persons entering the facilities for contraband. Others are considering buying the equipment, as the scanners become more advanced, more compact and less expensive. At a cost of $200,000 each, many jail systems consider the purchase price worth it in terms of the contraband that they stop.
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How 'Risk Assessment' Tools Are Condemning People to Indefinite Imprisonment
Truthout, (10/06/2016), Eric Meiners

Through predictive policing, criminogenics and risk assessment, the criminal justice system increasingly determines who will be released on bail, who will be sentenced to prison, who will be granted parole and who will be kept on supervision once released. This is especially true when it comes to those imprisoned for sex offenses, as approximately 6,000 persons across the country are being held in temporary detention centers beyond the length of their sentences. These individuals are kept confined for "treatment" as they have been deemed a danger to society.
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