Science and Technology News

Friday, February 23, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Alabama Attorney General Launches Lab to Fight Cybercrime
U.S. News and World Report, (02/14/2018), Associated Press
Alabama has announced plans to create a lab that will use cutting-edge technology to focus on the investigation of cybercrimes such as online exploitation and human trafficking, fraud and more. The state will work in cooperation with federal law enforcement, according to the Attorney General's office.
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New Richmond Police Data Portal Reveals Numbers on Traffic Stops, Use of Force and More
Richmond Confidential, (02/15/2018), Josh Slowiczek
The city of Richmond, Calif., has launched a new online portal that provides access to data on the city's law enforcement activities. Richmond Open Data provides a spreadsheet of information on calls for service, use of force, traffic stops and more, and is part of the city's commitment to transparency.
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Commerce Police Enter Online Suspect Identification Program
Herald-Banner, (02/16/2018), Ryan Scott
The police department in Commerce, Texas, is expanding its social media outreach by participating in the "ID This Person" website. Participating law enforcement agencies enter mugshots and information about individuals they are seeking, and citizens are eligible to receive a $25 gift card if they assist with identification.
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Mental Health Intervention a New Line of School Security in the Lehigh Valley
Allentown Morning Call, (02/16/2018), Sarah Wojcik
Since 2015, the Bethlehem (Pa.) Area School District has trained staff to recognize students struggling with emotional or mental health issues in order to help connect them with needed services and possibly promote school safety as well. In nearby Allentown, the district is pursuing a similar initiative with similar goals.
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Cop Eyes: Macomb County Connects Sheriff's Video System with Schools to Add Layer of Protection
WWJ CBS Detroit, (02/2018)
County officials, school district administrators and the Macomb County (Mich.) sheriff's office are working together to give the law enforcement agency real-time access to secure cameras in county schools. The project will be part of a move toward increased security in the wake of the Parkland High School shooting on Feb. 14.
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Henry County PD's New Body Cameras Offer Extra Function
Henry Herald, (02/21/2018), Chelsea Prince
The police department in Henry County, Ga., will be the state's first to use "body-worn computers" rather than standard body-worn cameras. The devices look like typical smartphones clipped to an officer's chest, and they can record audio and video, surf the Internet, use GPS tracking and also make phone calls. The department has purchased 180 of the devices and is gradually rolling them out.
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Corrections News

The Good News: N.J. Bail Overhaul Is Working. The Bad News: It's Already Going Broke., (02/13/2018), S.P. Sullivan
In the first year of implementation, a project to reduce the number of people charged with minor crimes kept in jail while awaiting trial has resulted in a 20-percent decrease. However, because the program is funded through court fees and does not receive state funds, it is already in financial jeopardy.
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You Can Lie About Drinking, But Your Sweat Can't. Why Aren't More Offenders Wearing Monitors?
Idaho Statesman, (02/14/2018), Katy Moeller
Idaho's SCRAM alcohol monitoring program appears statistically successful, but the devices are still worn by only a small percentage of those eligible, largely due to the $285 a month it costs a defendant to wear the device as a condition of release. Many offenders elect to remain in jail while awaiting trial instead.
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Researchers Use Technology to Help Keep Homeless Population Out of Jail
Oklahoma News 4, (02/19/2018), Lacey Lett
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center recently received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an app aimed at decreasing homeless persons' incarceration rate. The Link2Care app will connect them to resources such as substance abuse and mental health counseling, and if they choose to access services, agencies will work with them to keep them from returning to jail. Studies show the majority of homeless individuals do have cellphones.
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Michigan Ex-con Helps Others Turn Around Lives
The Detroit News, (02/19/2018), Oralandar Brand-Williams
Finding jobs and permanent housing for individuals recently released from prison helps reduce recidivism rates, and former gang member and juvenile offender Mario Bueno has created a nonprofit organization and written a book dedicated at helping others stay out of prison. His foundation's goals work in parallel with Michigan's, as the state has recently implemented several programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates.
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Probation and Courts to Focus on Compliance Over Incarceration in Washington County
Herald-Mail, (02/17/2018), Don Aines
Since the October 2017 implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA), Maryland's Department of Parole and Probation and courts have been using enhanced supervision and intervention with individuals who commit minor parole violations, rather than sending them back to jail or prison. Sanctions and interventions include increased drug and alcohol testing, stricter monitoring by agents, increased attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and GPS monitoring. The state attempts to exhaust all alternatives before returning an individual to incarceration.
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A Cellphone Found in Prison Leads to Huge Bust of Gang Selling Drugs on Snapchat
Sacramento Bee, (02/14/2018), Sam Stanton             
Approximately 750 federal law enforcement officers from three states (Northern California, Pennsylvania and Oregon) moved on Valentine's Day to break up a massive street and prison gang effort that used social media to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. Leaders were using contraband cellphones to coordinate the conspiracy.
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Michigan Reports Lowest-ever Prisoner Return Rates
Ionia Sentinel-Standard, (02/14/2018), Audra Gamble
Michigan's recidivism rate has fallen to 28.1 percent, among the 10 lowest in the United States. Twenty years ago, that rate stood at 45.7 percent. The decline may be attributable to increased job-training programs.
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