Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



South Portland Police Will Start Using Body Cameras
Portland Press Herald, (01/04/2017), Matt Byrne
The South Portland Police Department in Maine will soon equip its officers with body cameras. Officers will begin using the two dozen cameras sometime following a January 18 forum in which residents can learn about the program and ask questions. Police say the cameras will give officers an added vantage point during traffic stops, arrests or other interactions with the public to be used as evidence, or possibly to settle disputes about what occurred during the interaction.
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FMPD to Spend $1M on Tasers, Body Cameras
NBC2, (01/05/2017), Levi Ismail
Fort Myers, Fla., is using about $1 million to replace obsolete body cameras and Tasers for police officers. The new cameras work in unison with the Tasers. Once a Taser is activated, it sends a signal to all body cameras in the area to turn on and capture the encounter. The $1 million costs over a five-year contract include purchase, training and storage of data.
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South Dakota Forensic Lab Completes Testing of All Rape Kits
KOTA TV, (01/09/2017)
The South Dakota Forensic Lab has completed the testing of all rape kits from law enforcement agencies in the state. As part of the untested kit project in South Dakota, the lab collected more than 500 untested sexual assault kits from law enforcement agencies in the state, beginning in summer of 2013. Since then, the lab has completed analysis on 504 cases as part of this project. Those exams resulted in 254 additional DNA exams, which were completed in December 2016.
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Law Enforcement Agencies Offer Safe Areas for Craigslist Transactions
WISTV, (01/03/2017), Mike DeSumma
The Newberry County Sheriff's Department in South Carolina offers safe places for people to meet to complete online Craigslist transactions. The department offers secure areas monitored by cameras. County Sheriff Lee Foster said if a person seems unwilling to complete a Craigslist transaction at a police station, that's a bad sign and you should probably back out of that transaction.
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Orwigsburg Police Get New Gear for Protection
Republican Herald, (01/10/2017), Amy Marchiano
The police department in the Pennsylvania borough of Orwigsburg has new protective equipment paid for by donors in the community. The department received ballistic helmets, entry shields and battering rams in December. The gear was ordered in late August through the COSTARS program, a state contracting program. The borough has four full-time and six part-time police officers.
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Corrections News

New Tennessee State Law Means Mandatory Minimum Sentences
NewsChannel9, (01/03/2017), Alana LaFlore
A new Tennessee state law that took effect with the New Year means mandatory minimum jail and prison time for people who commit certain crimes. The law, which is part of the Public Safety Act of 2016, applies to people who are convicted of their third felony burglary or drug charge. The law sets the mandatory minimum period of time served to at least 85 percent.
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Wilson Foundation Announces Additional $1 Million in Prison Reentry Initiative Grants
BRProud, (01/05/2017), Paige Vaughn
The Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation has awarded $1 million in Prison Reentry Initiative grants to various organizations to ease inmate reentry in the Greater Baton Rouge area and reduce recidivism. This is the second year the foundation has invested in the initiative, which is designed to create a dramatic reduction in the percentage of formerly incarcerated people who return to prison. The foundation noted that more than 1,000 people were helped through the first nine months of 2016 with foundation funds.
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Pennsylvania to Close Two Prisons as Budget Shortfall Looms
Reuters, (01/06/2017), David DeKok
Pennsylvania will close two state prisons by June 30 to help offset a projected $600 million revenue shortfall in this year's budget, state officials said. Corrections officials said the affected employees, who will number between 800 and 1,100, depending on which prisons are picked, will be offered jobs at one of the 24 remaining prisons in the system. The department will also cut in half the capacity of its halfway houses.
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New Hampton Jail Program Aims to Prepare Inmates for Release, Ensure They Don't Come Back
Daily Press, (01/08/2017), Peter Dujardin
The Hampton City Jail in Virginia is among correctional facilities using a program to teach inmates how to be better fathers in preparation for release. The "InsideOut Dad" classes, which began the Hampton jail in June 2016, are part of an effort at the Hampton Sheriff's Office to help inmates prepare for their release. The Hampton City Jail's annex soon will focus exclusively on preparing selected nonviolent inmates for life after jail. Eventually, all 110 inmates now at the annex will participate in the new "Ready, Set, Go" program that was launched in December 2016, and which brings a host of programs, such as counselling, training and education, under one umbrella.
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