Science and Technology News

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

New Fontana Police Body Cameras Record Video — and Much, Much More
The Press-Enterprise, (08/08/2017), Ali Tadayon
The Fontana (Calif.) Police Department plans to equip its officers with state-of-the-art body cameras. The cameras are actually smartphones loaded with software developed by Silicon Valley-based Visual Labs. The company refers to the cameras as "Body-Worn Computers," since in addition to being able to take video, they can record audio, transmit officers' locations to their supervisors and live stream video. The department is using funds from a $546,502 U.S. Department of Justice grant, which was split in half between the Fontana Police Department and the San Bernardino Police Department.
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First Responders Participate in Simulated Airport Crisis Exercise
Laramie Boomerang, (08/10/2017), Cameron Walker
First responders recently participated in an airport crisis drill at Laramie Regional Airport in Wyoming. The simulation involved an airplane's engine catching fire while taking off. Firefighters put out fire, coroners documented the deceased and law enforcement officials talked to volunteers playing the families and friends of the simulated victims. Participating agencies included the Albany County Sheriff's Office, the Albany County Coroner's Office and firefighters from the Albany County Fire District No. 1.
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Cuyahoga County Fire Departments to Form Rescue Task Forces to Respond to Active Shooter Incidents
Cleveland.com, (08/10/2017), Karen Farkas
Fire departments throughout Cuyahoga County, Ohio, are creating rescue task forces comprising firefighters/paramedics who will rush into buildings with police during active shooter incidents to care for the injured. The county will use a $100,000 federal grant to purchase ballistic vests, ballistic helmets and medical trauma bags for fire departments in the county. During active shooter incidents, two paramedics will enter with two to four law enforcement officers, who will control where they can go.
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Darien Police Department Body Camera Program Now in Use
Darien Times, (08/09/2017), Kevin Webb
Police in Darien, Conn., are among the latest law enforcement officers to begin wearing body cameras. The devices were fully implemented in June after a trial period, and each member of the force has been trained on their use. Police will use their cameras to regularly document encounters with the public. Body cameras are not in use during medical emergencies or psychological evaluations in order to protect the privacy of those involved.
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Sheriff Mike Williams Scuttles Jacksonville's Red-Light Camera Program
Florida Times-Union, (08/11/2017), Christopher Hong
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams plans to end the city's red-light camera program next year, in part because he doesn't believe it reduces car accidents. Williams discussed his intentions to dismantle the city's network of red-light cameras during the City Council Finance Committee's review of the sheriff's office's proposed budget for next year. Since the city began using red-light cameras in 2012, statistics haven't definitively proven the technology reduces crashes at the 26 intersections outfitted with them.
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Nebraska Lawmaker's Bill Aims to Hold Drone Operators Accountable for Their Crimes
Omaha World-Herald, (08/13/2017), Emily Nohr
A Nebraska state lawmaker has proposed legislation on use of drones. Examples from the proposal by state Sen. Carol Blood include: using a drone to enter or hide in a building without permission would be considered first-degree trespassing, operating a drone less than 300 feet above private property without permission would be considered second-degree trespassing, and operators could not use unmanned aircraft to interfere with a crime scene or fly within 150 feet of prisons or jails.
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Madison Police Change Protocol to Deal With Fentanyl
WISC TV, (08/10/2017), Dave Delozier
The Madison Police Department in Wisconsin has changed the protocol used for dealing with suspected drugs being processed into evidence in order to improve officer safety and prevent exposure to dangerous drugs. Officers are now required to wear protective gloves, eye protection and masks when handling suspected drugs. They also must have a second officer with them, who could administer naloxone if an overdose occurs. Naloxone is used to reverse an opioid overdose.
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Newberry County Introduces New Technology for Better Communication at Schools, Hospitals
WACH FOX57, (08/14/2017), Andrea Butler
Newberry County, S.C., has a new app to help hospitals and schools notify first responders of an emergency. The Rave Panic Button app allows teachers and staff at a facility to notify 911, first responders and everyone on campus when there is an active threat or other emergency on campus. Once the app is activated, the caller can communicate with 911 directly by voice or text. The technology is also being implemented at Newberry County Memorial Hospital.
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Corrections News

UChicago Health Lab and Community Partners Open Center for Individuals Exiting Jail
UChicago News, (07/26/2017), Katelyn Silva
A Supportive Release Center in Chicago provides short-term, critical services to individuals with mental health issues who are exiting jail. The center, opened by the University of Chicago Health Lab in partnership with the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities and Heartland Health Outreach, is located adjacent to the Cook County Jail and provides assistance for those who suffer from mental illness and are discharged from the system without clean clothes or a place to go. The center also connects individuals with social services and other resources. The center began serving released individuals on June 5 and so far has served about 70 people.
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Department of Corrections Reveals Measures for a Safer Environment
KHGI Nebraska TV, (08/12/2017)
The Nebraska Department of Corrections Services is taking steps to improve safety in its facilities. For example, actions the agency has taken include increased searches of housing units, cells, common areas, kitchen workers and industries workers to prevent drug-induced violence and access to weapons; clinical treatment programs for inmates to target violence and criminal thinking; and training, equipment, procedures and ongoing assessments to prevent staff assaults.
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Jails Trying to Stay as Creative as Inmates in Stopping Drug Trafficking
NWI.com, (08/12/2017), Bob Kasarda
Indiana jail officials are taking steps to keep illegal drugs out of correctional facilities. Birthday cards mailed to Porter County Jail inmates are copied, and the copies are then passed on to the inmates. Also, inmates no longer are allowed to receive books from the outside. Officials at the jail stepped up their inspections of mail after a discovery that drugs were being smuggled in using greetings cards, stamps, envelopes and books.
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Roswell Killer Hazelwood 'Selfie' Posted on Instagram, But How?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (08/11/2017), Alexis Stevens
The Georgia Department of Corrections is investigating an apparent "selfie" of convicted killer Jeffrey Hazelwood, which was posted on Instagram. Electronic recording devices aren't allowed in Georgia's prisons. The investigation began after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked prison officials about the image. In May, Hazelwood pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murdering two teenagers and was sentenced to life in prison. He is currently at Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville.
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Woman Sues Firm, Cook County After Alleged Attack by Teen Wearing GPS Monitor
Chicago Tribune, (08/11/2017), Steve Schmadeke
A Chicago woman who was reportedly robbed and sexually assaulted in her home last fall is suing Cook County and a GPS-tracking contractor, claiming they failed to detect that one of the alleged assailants had left home four hours before the attack despite being under home confinement. News reports of the crime say the woman was sleeping when she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint by two boys, one 16 and another 15, while a third teenager held a knife and acted as a lookout. According to her lawsuit filed in Cook County circuit court, the 15-year-old had been ordered by a judge to wear a GPS anklet and remain on home confinement after being charged in juvenile court with robbery. Workers at Sentinel Offender Services failed to notice he had left his home four hours before the attack, according to the lawsuit.
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When Prisoners Are a 'Revenue Opportunity'
The Atlantic, (08/10/2017), Brian Alexander
This article examines issues surrounding the use of video visitation in prisons, including costs and effects on in-person visits.
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People With Mental Illness Reoffend Less If on Specialty Probation
University of California-Berkley, (08/09/2017)
A study out of the University of California-Berkley finds that treatment-oriented probation for people with mental illness sharply reduces repeat arrests. Researchers studied the supervision and outcomes of 359 offenders with mental illness, comparing those who had been placed on traditional probation against those on "specialty mental health probation," a program in which probation officers with mental health expertise use a more individualized, treatment-oriented approach. Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association -- Psychiatry, show that 52 percent of traditional probationers were re-arrested over a two-year follow-up period, compared to 29 percent of specialty probationers.
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Tablet Technology Beneficial for Pima County Jail Inmates, Officials Say
KVOA.com, (08/07/2017), Zack Briggs
Tablets designed to help manage inmate behavior at the Pima County jail allow inmates to take classes and obtain education certificates. About 1,700 inmates currently use tablets. Capt. Sean Stewart with the Pima County Sheriff's Department said inmates' activity on the tablets is monitored around the clock through a server system and they do not have access to the internet.
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Post-Traumatic Stress and Suicide in Corrections: How PA DOC is Addressing the Issue
InPublicSafety, (08/7/2017), Natasha Amaral, COVER Chairperson, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
This article discusses post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues among corrections officers and a new Pennsylvania Department of Corrections program called Corrections Outreach for Veteran and Employee Restoration (COVER). It is based on a program designed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons called the Bureau Buddy Program, which offers peer support to address wellness issues.
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Internet of Incarceration: How AI Could Put an End to Prisons as We Know Them
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, (08/14/2017), Antony Funnell for Future Tense
This article discusses how sophisticated technology could change the system of incarceration in Australia and other countries, and prison programs in Norway and Sweden that seek to create more humane prison environments.
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SC Inmate Flashes Knife on Facebook Live
WCBD TV, (08/11/2017)
A South Carolina inmate serving a 10-year sentence for burglary has exposed flaws in a prison's security with social media posts. Jose Ariel Rivera posted a Facebook Live video while brandishing a knife. He is serving time at Evans Correctional Institution in Bennettsville. The South Carolina Department of Corrections is investigating. A prison spokesperson says the video is another example of the unfettered access cellphones give inmates have to the outside world. Several state leaders have been urging the Federal Communications Commission to allow prisons to block cellphone signals.
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