Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

911 Emergency Text Messaging Now Available in Imperial County
KYMA, (01/02/2018), Crystal Bedoya
Several law enforcement agencies in Imperial County in California are now equipped to receive and respond to 911 text messages. The Brawley Police Department, California Highway Patrol, El Centro Police Department, Imperial County Sheriff's Office and State Emergency Communications 911 officials can now receive and respond to mobile phone SMS Text-to-911 messages. The service is accessible to help hearing and speech impaired people and in situations where it is too dangerous to make a voice call to 911.
Link to Article

Police Begin Enforcing Washington's E-DUI Distracted Driving Law
Q13 News and Associated Press, (01/04/2018)
Police in Washington State have begun enforcing a new distracted driving law following the end of a six-month grace period. The law means drivers may not use hand-held cellphones while driving, stopped in traffic or at a stop light. This includes tablets, laptops or other hand-held electronic devices. Drivers caught with a cellphone in hand will be issued a $136 ticket.
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Pa. EMS Agency Gets Equipped With Body Armor
EMS1, (01/05/2018), Joshua Vaughn/The Sentinel
Officials of Yellow Breeches EMS in Mt. Holly Springs, Pa., have purchased body armor for their crews. The company received a $1,000 grant to help offset the $3,000 cost for 15 protective vests, and is applying for other grants.
Link to Article

Most Austin Police Officers Will Soon Have Body Cameras
Austin Monitor, (01/09/2018), Jack Craver
Austin police officials plan to have all patrol officers equipped with body cameras by the end of the first quarter of this year. Since October, the police department has equipped officers at three of its four substations with body cameras. The department plans to implement the cameras for officers at the north substation next.
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Corrections News

State Outlines Plan to Shore Up Ranks at West Virginia Correctional Facilities
WVAH, (01/04/2018), Jeff Morris
The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety has identified 93 personnel within its ranks who can provide short-term staffing to assist at state correctional facilities. The plan is the result of an executive order signed on Dec. 22, 2017, by Gov. Jim Justice when he declared a state of emergency due to the staffing levels of the state's juvenile and adult detention and correctional facilities. These personnel will be used to free up correctional officers for more direct supervision of inmates, and will have no direct inmate contact. The additional personnel will be used to conduct outer perimeter patrols and help operate facility control towers.
Link to Article

Pulaski County Jail Screening New Arrivals' Mental Health
Arkansasonline, (01/08/2018), Emma Pettit
People processed at the Pulaski County Jail in Little Rock, Ark., now undergo screening meant to quickly identify people who could have serious mental illness. Surveys, one for men and one for women, are filled out for every person who is processed at the 1,210-bed facility. The Correctional Mental Health Screen for Men and for Women was developed by two professors with a grant from the National Institute of Justice.
Link to Article

More Inmates Killed. More Assaults on Guards. What's happening in SC Prisons?
Charlotte Observer, (01/07/2018), John Monk
This article discusses the rise in violence in South Carolina prisons. Reasons cited for the increase include more cellphones and other contraband slipping into prisons, problems in hiring enough corrections officers and a higher percentage of violent prisoners among the prison system's inmates.
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Missouri Faces Choice: Improve Prison System or Build Two New Lockups, Task Force Warns
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (01/04/2018), Jesse Bogan and Kurt Erickson
Two new prisons will be needed soon if major improvements are not made in the Missouri Department of Corrections system, according to a new study. The study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center said that $189 million must be invested over the next five fiscal years, primarily by expanding and improving options to treat offenders in the community for behavioral health problems. Otherwise, the department could risk paying $485 million in "status quo costs" to build and operate two new prisons in the same time frame.
Link to Article

Ohio Lawmaker Pushes for Harsher Penalties for Parolees Who Fail Drug Tests
WOSU, (01/08/2018), Andy Chow
An Ohio state lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require people on parole who fail a drug test to go back to jail or a treatment center. The proposal is meant to act as an intervention for addicts. Under the bill proposed by Rep. Niraj Antani, a person on parole or under community control would go back to jail if they test positive for heroin, fentanyl or carfentanil. The bill would also allow the option for treatment rather than jail time.
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