Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

AT&T to Build Wireless Network for First Responders
CBSMiami, (03/30/2017), Oralia Ortega
The U.S. Department of Commerce has picked AT&T to build and operate a new nationwide broadband communications network exclusively for use by police, firefighters and other first responders. The creation of the network, which has been in the planning stages since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will allow seamless communication among agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies. Each state can elect to opt in or opt out of the network, but must provide something similar for its first responders if it does not participate.
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Iowa State Police Use Twitter Like Another Tool on Its Belt
Iowa State Daily, (03/29/2017), Danielle Gehr
Anthony Greiter, social media coordinator for the Iowa State University police department, has used color and humor as he has built a Twitter following of more than 17,000. He says he has found humor the best way to reach his audience, which consists mainly of young university students; the department then can count on reaching a large audience when it needs to quickly spread important information related to emergencies and crimes.
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Police Give Domestic Violence Victims Cell Phones for 911 Calls
KOB4, (04/05/2017), Devin Neely
Farmington, N.M., area residents are encouraged to donate older, unused cell phones and chargers to the Farmington Police Department. Victim advocates will pass them on to victims of domestic violence who have no other way to contact authorities. The phones should be factory reset. New Mexico had more than 17,500 reported incidents of domestic violence in 2015.
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Volunteers on Lookout for Speeding Cars in Menomonie, Wis.
Fox 9, (04/03/2017), Allie Johnson
In Menomonie, Wis., pairs of volunteers that complete police department training can check out radar units and conduct speed watches in their own neighborhoods. One "traffic tamer" runs the radar unit, while the other takes down the vehicle's information. The law enforcement agency then sends letters of warning to the owners of the reported vehicles.
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New Digital Radio System to Improve Emergency Communications in Horry County
WMBF News, (04/04/2017), Amy Lipman
Horry County, S.C., implemented a switchover that took three years to complete recently, moving from a 1989 analog radio system to a new digital one. The switchover had been scheduled for later this month, but became a necessity when a tower belonging to the analog system went down. The digital system can reroute itself in the event of a similar occurrence in the future, and eliminates spotty coverage in rural areas and among the high-rises of Myrtle Beach.
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Courts News

Inquirer Editorial: Witnesses' Fear of Seeing Photos on Social Media Has Been Eased, (04/04/2017)
This opinion piece by Philadelphia Inquirer staff applauds a new policy at Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center that requires people to put their cellphones in a pouch that blocks their use. The city has purchased 4,500 pouches at a total cost of $50,000, aimed at blocking attempts to intimidate witnesses by taking their photos during testimony and posting them on social media.
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Corrections News

Cuomo Agrees to Restore $2.6M Budget Slot for Prison Visitation After Outcry Over His Proposal to Cut Back Days
New York Daily News, (03/30/2017), Glenn Blain and Kenneth Lovett
In reaction to protests from the corrections community and state lawmakers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to restore $2.6 million cut from the state budget that would have resulted in cutting the number of days each week on which state prisoners could have visitors from seven to three. Funding 39 additional staff positions will allow facilities to continue their policy of allowing visitors every day of the week. Numerous studies have stressed the importance of regular family contact in the rehabilitation process.
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Tablets Let Inmates Go Online at Polk County Jail
U.S. News and World Report, (03/30/2017), Associated Press
Inmates in the Polk County (Iowa) Jail can explore the Internet, watch movies and contact their loved ones as part of a pilot project providing access to tablet computers. Provided by Telmate, use of the tablets costs inmates three to five cents a minute, which is deducted from their commissary accounts. The program began operation March 9.
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For Jail-hardened Inmates, Dogs Are Bringing Out a Softer Side
Dallas Morning News, (03/31/2017), Naomi Martin
Home for Hounds, a new program at the Dallas County Jail, pairs inmates with shelter dogs in a program aimed at teaching both men and dogs "new tricks." Inmates adhere to a strict training schedule, getting up at 5 a.m. to feed the dogs and teach them basic obedience. The animals were scheduled to be euthanized, but the hope is that with their newly acquired skills, they will become strong candidates for adoption. The program is funded by commissary funds.
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Manatee Jail's 'Recovery Pods' a Success in Year One, With Room for Improvement
ABC7, (03/31/2017)
In the past year, more than 500 men and women have participated in a "Recovery Pod" program in Florida's Manatee Jail, receiving around-the-clock counseling for more than 90 days. Run by volunteers and encompassing 30 beds each for men and women, the program's goal is to change the way that inmates think about their addiction and to promote focus on recovery.
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Bees Are Slowly Going Extinct. These Prisoners Are Trying To Stop That.
Huffington Post, (04/04/2017), Dominique Mosbergen
More than 50 inmates at seven Washington State prisons are engrossed in tending 30 honeybee hives. The inmates are getting training that will help them become journeymen, perhaps even master beekeepers, while the program also gives a boost to the state's threatened honeybee population.
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Texas Inmate Wins Orthodox Jews the Right to Kosher Meals in Prison, (04/04/2017), Tom Uhler for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
In Texas, an inmate has won a 12-year legal battle with the state, giving all Orthodox Jewish inmates in the Texas correctional system access to kosher meals. Texas had been one of only a few states that refused to provide kosher meals to inmates, citing the cost.
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