Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Papillion-La Vista Schools Add 911 Radios to All Schools
KMTV, (10/03/2018), Jon Kipper
In each Papillion-La Vista area school, one staff member now has access to a special radio that connects directly to the Sarpy County (Neb.) 911 Center. Pushing an orange button provides an immediate connection that allows the school to bypass using a cellphone; cellular connections often become overloaded in the event of an emergency.
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State Crime Lab Launches Rape Kit Tracking System, (10/4/2018), Matthew Burns
North Carolina has launched a bar code system to track sexual assault kits through the forensic testing process. A February 2018 audit had determined that more than 15,000 rape kits had never been tested, and the state legislature mandated development of a tracking system. North Carolina obtained the bar code system from Idaho at no charge.
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Fentanyl Worries Have Police Changing the Way They Handle, Test for Illicit Drugs
San Diego Union-Tribune, (10/07/2018), Karen Kucher
This article looks at how several San Diego-area law enforcement agencies have begun using high-tech devices to test substances suspected of being illicit drugs, rather than using traditional field testing methods. The move toward technology has been prompted by the increasing incidence of encounters with fentanyl and other novel psychoactive substances.
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Grant Program Aims to Make Florida Roads Safer for Cyclists and Pedestrians
Tampa Bay Times, (10/07/2018), Daniel Figueroa IV
In the wake of reports that the Tampa Bay area is unsafe for bicyclists, the Florida Department of Transportation and the University of North Florida have given grant money from its High Visibility Enforcement for Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety program to nearly every law enforcement agency in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The grant money goes to programs to help educate residents on bicycle safety.
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Corrections News

Dept. of Corrections Program Diverts Addicts Away From Prison and Onto Path of Recovery, (10/04/2018), Cole Sullivan
A new Tennessee Department of Corrections program diverts addicts to a community-based, intensive recovery program rather than sending them to prison. The Day Reporting Center begins with an intensive six hour-per-day, four day-a-week inpatient program where participants can earn their GEDs and learn about other relevant topics such as anger management. So far, 13 people have completed the program, and the relapse rate has been 15 percent.
Link to Article

Jail Is First in Idaho to Have Iris Recognition System
U.S. News & World Report, (10/5/2018), Associated Press
Idaho's Canyon County Jail became the first in the state to implement iris biometric identification recognition when booking inmates. Inmates are also fingerprinted and photographed. Some criminals damage their fingerprints, but even if a person has eye surgery, the irises remain unique.
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Paper Mail Still Matters to People Behind Bars
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, (10/08/2018), Victoria Law
Beginning in early September, Pennsylvania instituted a policy to eliminate personal mail from its correctional facilities. Mail for prisoners must be sent to Smart Communications U.S. Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla., where it is converted into a searchable electronic document. The company sends digital files to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, which then delivers black-and-white printouts to the recipients.
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Cleveland Judge Refuses to Send Low-Level Defendants to Jail After Inmate Deaths, (10/05/2018), Karen Zraick for the New York Times
A Cleveland judge has released six defendants charged with low-level crimes rather than sending them to jail to wait for their next court appearance. The judge cited six inmate deaths in four months as the reason for releasing the defendants, who still must comply with any requirements for electronic monitoring or to post bond.
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Missouri Has Lost Track of More Than 1,200 Sex Offenders. Other States Have a Similar Problem.
CNN, (10/02/2018), Doug Criss and Amanda Watts
According to the state auditor's office, Missouri has lost track of about 8 percent of the state's 16,000 registered sex offenders, including 800 individuals convicted of rape, sodomy or child molestation in the first or second degree. Similar issues have also been uncovered in Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
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Are Pa. Prisons' Drug Screenings Plagued by False Positives?
The Inquirer, (10/03/2018), Samantha Melamed
Visitors to Pennsylvania correctional facilities say they are forced into elaborate cleaning procedures that can include changing to clean, sterile clothing in order to avoid setting off the commonwealth's extremely sensitive ion scanners. However, the Department of Corrections says that machines function as intended, and it is proceeding with plans to install new technology that keeps up with today's influx of synthetic drugs.
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Harris County Jail Launches Suicide Hotline for Inmates
Chron, (10/01/2018), Keri Blakinger
Houston's Harris County Jail has launched one of the first crisis hotlines in the country as a response to two recent inmate suicides. The 60-day pilot program gives inmates increased access to mental health. The 9,000-person facility has become the state's largest mental health provider.
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Fingerprint Drug Screen Test Works on the Living and Deceased, (10/08/2018), University of East Anglia
Research out of the University of East Anglia, published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, details how technology can detect the presence of amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates from a single fingerprint sample in just 10 minutes. The technology has been successfully used by coroners to detect drugs in fingerprint samples taken from dead persons as well.
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