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
News-PressNOW.com, (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
WNCN.com, (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
AL.com, (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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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

Digital Forensics Rescues Retro Video Games and Software
Imperial Valley News, (09/13/2016), Richard Press
The National Software Reference Library (NSRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., contains the largest collection in the world of software titles in numerous versions, which can serve as a forensic tool for law enforcement and national security investigators. Every file has a unique hash, or "digital fingerprint," and investigators can use these markers to quickly locate evidence on computers and hard drives seized as evidence.
Link to Article


Dutch Police Unleash Drone-hunting Eagles and Buy Some Chicks
Geek, (09/13/2016), Jordan Minor
After a successful pilot program, Dutch police have begun using drone-hunting eagles around airports and other sensitive space. The eagles have been trained to see the drones as prey, and they are paired with Dutch police officers who will target the drone operators and collect the seized drones when the eagles land.
Link to Article


2 Officers Shot While Answering Call in Fort Worth
Standard-Times, (09/16/2016)
A Ft. Worth police officer survived a shooting on September 16 thanks to his ballistic-resistant body armor. Two officers responded to a call about an apparent suicide and after finding an unresponsive man, went to a nearby shed in search of a witness. A suspect opened fire from inside the shed and wounded both officers.  Both are expected to survive.
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Learning to Apply a Tourniquet Stressed as Active Shooter Events Increase
Lincoln Journal-Star, (09/19/2016), Nancy Hicks
Because many of the victims in mass casualty events bleed to death before medical assistance arrives, law enforcement officers are learning new first aid and trauma treatment techniques that may help save lives. As part of this growing trend, police cruisers and fire and rescue vehicles in Lincoln, Neb., are now equipped with new trauma kits and some 300 officers have received training in the use of combat application tourniquets, which require only one hand to apply. Link to Article


Philadelphia Gunman, 'Driven by Hatred,' Ambushed Officer, Then Went on Deadly Rampage
Washington Post, (09/18/2016), Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
A Philadelphia police sergeant survived an ambush attack on the evening of September 17, when two of the shots fired by an assailant apparently motivated by anger at the police lodged in her ballistic-resistant vest. Sgt. Sylvia Young did sustain non-life-threatening injuries to her arm during an 18-shot barrage of gunfire; the gunman went on to shoot six other people, including one woman who died from her injuries.
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The Story Behind the Smartphone Terror Alert in NYC
CNNMoney, (09/19/2016), Seth Fiegerman
In the wake of the explosion that rocked Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on September 17, officials used cell towers to send an emergency alert about the wanted suspect to the smartphones of everyone in the New York City area. The New York City police commissioner praised the system as the wave of the future; however, some members of the public criticized the idea.
Link to Article


New Haven Considers Giving Cops Cell Phones so Residents Have Instant Access
New Haven Register, (09/18/2016), Juliemar Ortiz
The mayor of New Haven has announced a plan to put cellphones in the hands of all walking beat and patrol officers, a goal aimed at improving community policing and making officers more accessible. However, the plan is still in preliminary stages and in the meantime, many officers give out their personal cellphones to residents on their beats.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Q&A: Trends in Green Design
Correctional News, (09/12/2016), Lindsey Coulter
This article presents a question-and-answer session with two industry experts about the green technologies that provide the best return on investment for correctional facilities, the best up-and-coming technologies, and how facilities could better adapt the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification process.
Link to Article


Ohio Schools Add ID Scanners to Recognize Visitors on Sex Offender List
Government Technology, (09/14/2016), Bill Bush for the Columbus Dispatch
Many schools in Franklin County, Ohio, now require all visitors to show a government-issued photo ID before they will be admitted. The ID is scanned into a device that checks the person against a national sex offenders' database before printing out a visitors' sticker. However, one local school has discontinued the practice due to too many false positives generated by similar names.
Link to Article


Daviess County Jail Installs New Body Scanner to Detect Contraband
WKU, (09/15/2016), Rhonda Miller
The jail in Kentucky's Daviess County has a new state-of-the-art body scanner for use in detecting contraband. Similar to those used at airports, the machine uses DruGuard technology to make two scans from different angles to help detect hidden items.
Link to Article


Norway Proves That Treating Prison Inmates as Human Beings Actually Works
WorldPost, (08/03/2016), Baz Dreisinger
In a modified excerpt from Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World, a 2016 non-fiction release, this piece presents a profile of Bastoy Prison in Norway, considered a worldwide model for open prisons.
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California Wants to Stop County Jails From Banning Visitors
Quartz, (09/18/2016), Hanna Kozlowska
A bill that requires all county jails to allow inmates to have in-person visits with friends and family has passed the California legislature and now needs Governor Jerry Brown's signature, which is due by September 30. Many jails and prisons across the country have implemented policies allowing video visitation only as a cost-cutting and security measure, but this policy may contribute to feelings of inmate isolation and eventual recidivism.
Link to Article


SC Prisons to Get Cell Phone Finder Technology
News13, (09/16/2016), Robert Kittle
The South Carolina Department of Corrections plans to begin using cell phone signal triangulation technology to help locate contraband cell phones within correctional facilities. The state plans to begin implementation in prisons where the most dangerous inmates are located, at an initial cost of just over $1 million. The technology has proven successful in another state that already uses it.
Link to Article

Parents of Woman Killed by Estranged Husband Question Use of Electronic Ankle Monitor
WPXI.com, (09/14/2016)
The parents of a West Finley, Pa., woman who was killed by her husband after he removed an electronic ankle monitor want to know why a violent offender was fitted with the device and released into the general population. The Washington County program is intended for monitoring alcohol use, and it is unclear why the judge in this case placed Kevin Ewing in the program in spite of a request by the District Attorney's office.
Link to Article


More Ohio Inmates Caught Smuggling Cellphones
Dayton Daily News, (09/18/2016), Laura A. Bischoff
In a three-year span between 2011 and 2014, contraband seizures by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction increased 222 percent for cell phones, 173 percent for tobacco, 109 percent for drugs and alcohol, and 10.8 percent for weapons. Inmates come up with increasingly creative ways to smuggle contraband, which can mean lots of money if sold behind prison walls.
Link to Article


D.C. Mayor Cites Rape Case in Pushing to Close GPS Loophole
Washington Post, (09/15/2016), Aaron C. Davis and Amy Brittain
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has stated that she plans to make it a priority to propose a law that makes it a crime for offenders to tamper with their GPS monitoring devices. Bowser cited the case of Antwon Pitt, who was found with a disabled device but incurred no penalty. Several days later, Pitt raped and beat a woman in her home. The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in 2014 that penalties applied only to criminals explicitly required to wear GPS devices by judges or the U.S. Parole Commission; however, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency monitors convicts in the District, including those wearing GPS devices. The Pitt case has served as an impetus for re-examining the issue.
Link to Article


Proper Hand Protection to Prevent Infection
Corrections.com, (09/19/2016), Vicky Adams
Protection from infectious disease can present a major challenge for correctional facilities. The two best preventive methods are frequent handwashing, using proper handwashing techniques, and wearing gloves when the situation requires it. This articles takes an in-depth look at how to properly wash hands and at the various types of gloves available.
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