Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

New Tool Will Let Citizens Send Crime Videos to Police
Evanston Now, (04/11/2018)
The police department in Evanston, Ill., has expanded its Axon body-worn camera program with a new system called "Axon Citizen" that allows citizens to upload video from cell phones and other electronic devices. If the agency learns that video or other media relevant to an investigation exists, they can contact the individual and invite them to upload to the account at no charge.
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New York, Baltimore Coach Drug Users, Cops on Good Sam Overdose-Prevention Laws, (04/11/2018), Terry DeMio
Drug users can be part of the solution to preventing overdose deaths, this article says, but at times ignorance of the protection offered by Good Samaritan laws can lead to unnecessary deaths. In both Baltimore and New York City, promotional material and other materials are components of education campaigns aimed at drug users and law enforcement to ensure that both groups understand the meaning of the laws.
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Michigan State Police Expand CAUTION Program
WHMI, (04/12/2018)
A volunteer program that originally began at just one Michigan State Police post will expand statewide in the near future. Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood, known as CAUTION, partners local faith leaders with their respective state police posts to network with officers and share information. Volunteers also accompany law enforcement on certain calls where their services may be helpful.
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District Attorney's Office Donates Chip Scanners to Reunite Pets With Families
Observer-Reporter, (04/12/2018), Barbara Miller
The Washington County (Pa.) District Attorney's office has used $7,000 in vice-related asset forfeitures to buy 30 microchip detectors that will help police departments and humane officers identify lost pets and return them to their owners. The DA's office is also encouraging pet owners to have the identity microchips implanted in their pets.
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Law Enforcement Officials Considering Cameras to Detect, Automatically Cite Drivers Using Phones
Washington Times, (04/12/2018), Victor Morton
This article looks at emerging technologies that will let police departments detect driver cell-phone use, thus giving agencies the ability to automatically ticket drivers. The technology is similar to the way cameras catch speeding drivers.
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Familial DNA Used to Solve Arizona Cold Case, (04/12/2018)
Collaborative efforts involving the Scottsdale Police Department and several state-level agencies resulted in the recent arrest of a suspect in a three-year-old cold case murder investigation. The investigation was helped by the first-ever use of familial DNA to provide evidence in an Arizona murder case.
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North Carolina Sheriff's Deputy Saved by Ballistic Vest, (04/16/2018), Rodger Mullen for the Fayetteville Observer
A Harnett County (N.C.) sheriff's deputy was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest when responding to a call about a missing juvenile on April 14. His vest stopped a shot to the abdomen; a 16-year-old suspect is charged with the shooting.
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Eyes in the Sky: Yes, Richmond-area Police Are Circling Overhead
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (04/15/2018), Ned Oliver
The police departments of Henrico County, Chester County and the city of Richmond all share responsibility for staffing and operating the Henrico County Metro Aviation Unit, which provides aerial search and rescue, investigation support and other services to officers of the three participating jurisdictions. The unit flies a Cessna airplane that often can be seen circling the skies of the metro area in support of various law enforcement missions.
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Corrections News

Lee Correctional Institution Riot Is Deadliest in Nation in 25 Years
Sumter Item, (04/17/2018), Kayla Robins
In the aftermath of Sunday's fights at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, which left seven people dead and 17 others injured, state officials once again called on the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to block cell phone signals in correctional facilities. Preliminary investigations indicate the fighting broke out in a dispute over territory and contraband, including cell phones.
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A Lesson From Camden: Fixing Jails and Health Care Together
The Crime Report, (04/05/2018), Anne Milgram and Jeffrey Brenner
The authors of a new report published by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard Kennedy School use this article to examine the potential for achieving lasting solutions by integrating health care and criminal justice data. Research has indicated that frequent users of the health care system also frequently interact with the criminal justice system, and looking at how these individuals use both systems can provide opportunities to develop meaningful programs and prevent problems before they occur.
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Technology Assisting Local Deputies to Keep Cell Phones Out of the Hands of Inmates, (04/17/2018), Steve Crump
The Mecklenberg County Jail uses cell sense technology to check incoming inmates for contraband technology, and although searches often turn up weapons, so far there have been no attempts to smuggle cell phones past the detection hardware.
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Drug Use Is Detectable on Your Fingerprints
The Atlantic, (04/1/2018), Rod McCollum
This article looks at the pros and cons of using new techniques that can determine, from a single fingerprint, whether you have ingested cocaine, opiates, marijuana or other drugs. Researchers are looking to expand the controlled substances that can be detected to include methamphetamines and amphetamines.
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This Implantable Chip Could Monitor Alcohol Intake, (04/18/2018), Emily Matchar
A team of scientists from the University of California, San Diego, has developed a tiny implantable chip that can be used to monitor alcohol intake. The one cubic millimeter biosensor and a wearable device comparable in size to a smart watch could replace ankle monitoring bracelets and invasive tests for individuals undergoing court-adjudicated monitoring.
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Missouri Lawmakers Consider an Overhaul of the State's Justice System
KY3, (04/15/2018), Justin Corr
The Justice Reinvestment Act, which recently passed the Missouri State Senate and is under consideration in the House, would create more community-oriented programs in an attempt to keep low-level offenders out of the correctional system and break the cycle of recidivism. A reduction in the state's prison population should also mean that Missouri would not need to build additional correctional facilities.
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Oregon Inmates With Severe Mental Illness Still Held Too Long in Solitary, Group Says, (04/10/2018), Maxine Bernstein
Disability Rights Oregon says the state has made little progress in fulfilling an agreement to allow inmates with severe mental illnesses out of their cells for a minimum of 20 hours a week, including 10 hours for classes and treatment and 10 hours for recreation and meals. A 2016 report by the advocacy group found that adults with the most severe mental illnesses routinely were isolated in cells for 23 hours a day without access to mental health care.
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Reports: Thousands of 'Low Risk' Offenders Not Being Diverted From Prison
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (04/09/2018), Frank Green
According to results from two studies, Virginia's Nonviolent Risk Assessment questionnaire appears to be diverting high-risk, rather than low-risk, offenders away from prison and into community-based programs – the exact opposite of its intention. The findings will be presented to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission.
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A Drone Packed With Drugs — Prisons Adapt to New Methods Used to Sneak in Contraband
Lincoln Journal-Star, (04/08/2018), Lori Pilger
The Nebraska Department of Corrections has put a renewed focus on locating contraband as inmates and their co-conspirators come up with more creative ways to smuggle items into facilities – including the use of drone delivery. Officials are seizing more cellphones, weapons and drugs than ever before, but some inmates still find ways to get the contraband items through, meaning staff must remain ever-vigilant.
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