Friday, December 2, 2016

AG Report: Indigenous Offenders Not Getting Timely Access To Correctional Programs
"An inspection by Canada’s auditor general found that Correctional Service Canada (CSC) did not provide rehabilitation programs, including culturally specific programs, to indigenous offenders in a timely manner — one of many issues that he says make up a situation that is 'beyond unacceptable' for Canada’s aboriginal people.

The auditor general’s report, tabled Tuesday morning in the House of Commons, found that only 20 per cent of indigenous offenders were able to complete programs designed to prevent them from re-offending 'by the time they were eligible to be considered for conditional release by the Parole Board.'

'Very few' indigenous offenders were released on parole, in comparison to non-indigenous offenders, the report also concluded. Out of the 69 per cent released at their statutory release dates, more than three quarters of those indigenous offenders re-entered society directly from maximum- or medium-security prisons.

In his report, Auditor General Michael Ferguson referred back to his predecessor, Sheila Fraser — who, near the end of her mandate, described the response to her 10 years of audits and recommendations related to areas impacting indigenous peoples as 'unacceptable.'

'When you add the results of these audits to those we reported on in the past, I can only describe the situation as it exists now as beyond unacceptable,' Ferguson said. 'This is now more than a decade’s worth of audits showing that programs have failed to effectively serve Canada’s indigenous peoples.'”

View the Report
Embracing Technology and Changing the Culture at the NYPD
"In 2015, crime in New York City fell once again, reaching its lowest level in recent decades. New Yorkers are now safer in the city than they have been in years, and yet tensions between police officers and the communities in which they work have continued to mount. The challenge facing the New York Police Department (NYPD) today is to maintain safe streets while ushering in a new era of mutual respect between officers and local communities.

In the last two years, William Bratton has served for a second term as Commissioner of the New York Police Department. In this time, he led the NYPD away from aggressive tactics used to crack down on street-level crime, embracing instead a strategy that balances crime prevention and community engagement. In Bratton’s words, his second term was focused on moving the NYPD from a 'warrior' to a 'guardian' policing mindset.

This attempt at cultural change involved new policies regarding training and recruiting, neighborhood policing, and, perhaps most visibly, the adoption of social media platforms throughout the NYPD. A recently-published case study, co-authored by Harvard Law School Professor Susan Crawford and me, chronicles these organizational changes, drawing from dozens of interviews conducted by Professor Crawford starting in 2015. The full white paper, published by the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society, is available here."

Friday, November 25, 2016

"Callous, Cold and Deliberately Duplicitous": Racialization, Immigration and the Representation of HIV Criminalization in Canadian Mainstream Newspapers
"This report explores mainstream Canadian newspaper coverage of HIV non-disclosure criminal cases in Canada. It pays particular attention to how defendants’ race and immigration status figure into the newspaper representations of such cases. We empirically enquire into claims that African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) people living with HIV are negatively portrayed and overrepresented in Canadian newspaper stories about HIV non-disclosure cases. Our analysis is based on what, to our knowledge, is the largest data set of news coverage of the issue: a corpus of 1680 English-language Canadian newspaper articles about HIV non-disclosure criminal cases in Canada written between 1 January 1989 and 31 December 2015. Our quantitative and qualitative findings show that Canadian mainstream newspapers are a source of profoundly stigmatizing representations of ACB men living with HIV. For example, Black immigrant men living with HIV are dramatically overemphasized in Canadian mainstream newspaper stories about such cases. While these men account for only 15% of defendants charged they are the focus of 61% of newspaper coverage. Mainstream newspapers rely on forms of language that transfer a long history of exaggerated connections between criminality, race, sex, and otherness to the site of HIV. The result is that ACB men living with HIV are repeatedly represented as dangerous, hypersexual, foreigners who pose a threat to the health and safety of individuals (White women) and, more broadly, the imagined Canadian nation."
Pleading the Case: How the RCMP Fails to Justify  Calls for New Investigatory Powers
"A pair of articles by the Toronto Star and CBC have revealed a number of situations where the authors report on why authorities may be right to ask for new investigatory powers. A series of cases, combined with interviews with senior RCMP staff, are meant to provide some insight into the challenges that policing and security agencies sometimes have when pursuing investigations. The articles and their associated videos are meant to spur debate concerning the government’s proposal that new investigatory powers are needed. Such powers include a mandatory interception capability, mandatory data retention capability, mandatory powers to compel decryption of content, and easy access to  basic subscriber information. 

This post does not provide an in-depth analysis of the aforementioned proposed powers. Instead, it examines the specific ‘high priority’ cases that the RCMP, through a pair of journalists, has presented to the public. It’s important to recognize that neither the summaries nor underlying documents have been made available to the public, nor have the RCMP’s assessments of their cases or the difficulties experienced in investigating them been evaluated by independent experts such as lawyers or technologists. The effect is to cast a spectre of needing new investigatory powers without providing the public with sufficient information to know and evaluate whether existing powers have been effectively exercised."
These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers
"If the government ends up approving the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, credit won’t necessarily belong to the executives, bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists pushing for the deal. More likely, it will be due to the professors....

Today, 'in front of the government, in many cases the most important advocate is the economist and lawyers come second,' said James Denvir, an antitrust lawyer at Boies, Schiller.

Economists who specialize in antitrust — affiliated with Chicago, Harvard, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and other prestigious universities — reshaped their field through scholarly work showing that mergers create efficiencies of scale that benefit consumers. But they reap their most lucrative paydays by lending their academic authority to mergers their corporate clients propose. Corporate lawyers hire them from Compass Lexecon and half a dozen other firms to sway the government by documenting that a merger won’t be “anti-competitive”: in other words, that it won’t raise retail prices, stifle innovation, or restrict product offerings. Their optimistic forecasts, though, often turn out to be wrong, and the mergers they champion may be hurting the economy.

Experts Who Quit Panama's Transparency Commission Produce Their Own Report
"Ending the kinds of offshore abuses revealed by the Panama Papers scandal requires a global solution led by the United States and Europe, a report released today by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth says.

The 25-page report, 'Overcoming the Shadow Economy,' argues that, as 'economic leaders,' the U.S. and the European Union 'have an obligation to force financial centers to comply with global transparency standards.'

The U.S. and EU have shown they have the tools to stem the flow of dirty money in the fight against terrorism, but have failed to use these same anti-money-laundering tools as forcefully in the fight against financial corruption and tax dodging, the report says."

Is Gun Violence Stunting Business Growth?
"Gun violence imposes heavy social, psychological, and financial burdens on both individuals and society at large. Some of these burdens are known—we learn of the emotional cost from news stories and moving personal accounts, and we have previously calculated the health care costs of treating gunshot injuries. But we know comparatively little about the relationship between gun violence and local economic health.

In the communities and neighborhoods most affected by gun violence, is the presence of guns—absent other factors—impeding business growth?

A recent longitudinal study shows that neighborhood-level economic activity affects the conditions that make crime more likely and that violent crime can decline in the same year that economic activity increases. Earlier studies by Bowes and Greenbaum and Tita show that crime and fear of crime adversely affect the economic health of communities, cutting into business revenues and limiting business activity. New Urban research led by Yasemin Irvin-Erickson builds on these findings by exploring the association between gun violence and economic health of neighborhoods in six cities: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California; Rochester, New York; San Francisco, California; and Washington, DC.

This study integrates innovative data from several sources, including the National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database, gunshot detection technology, and credit bureau data, to develop concrete numbers describing the association between gun violence and local economic health. An interim report presents findings from Oakland, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis and explores the association between gun violence and business trends by census tract, using fixed effects panel models and analysis of observational data with statistical matching."

View the Interim Report

Friday, November 4, 2016

Young Adult Offenders Inquiry
"Research from a range of disciplines strongly supports the view that young adults are a distinct group with needs that are different both from children under 18 and adults older than 25, underpinned by the developmental maturation process that takes place in this age group. In the context of the criminal justice system this is important as young people who commit crime typically stop doing so by their mid-20s.

Those who decide no longer to commit crime can have their efforts to achieve this frustrated both by their previous involvement in the criminal justice system due to the consequences of having criminal records, and limitations in achieving financial independence due to lack of access to affordable accommodation or well-paid employment as wages and benefits are typically lower for this age group."

View the UK Justice Committee's Report of its Inquiry on Young Adult Offenders