Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Can Big Data Stop Bad Cops?
" This article is part of an ongoing examination by The Washington Post of fatal shootings by police. In 2015, The Post began tracking cases nationwide and compiled a database of all fatal shootings by officers in the line of duty. The project has expanded this year to include details about the officers involved. View the 2016 database here.

The Justice Department’s investigation of Baltimore police this month rebuked the agency for an entrenched culture of discriminatory policing. Deep within their findings, Justice investigators singled out a core failure: Baltimore’s system for identifying troubled officers was broken and existed in name only.

In Baltimore, Justice found that critical disciplinary records were excluded from its early intervention system, that police supervisors often intervened only after an officer’s behavior became egregious and that when they did, the steps they took were inadequate....

...The problems with Baltimore’s early intervention system are not isolated to police in that city. In numerous departments nationwide, police have failed to use early intervention systems effectively, Justice has found. Since 1994, 36 civil rights investigations by Justice discovered that local agencies had deeply flawed early intervention systems or no system in place at all, according to a review of those investigations by The Washington Post."

View the DOJ Report 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Monitoring of Contract Prisons
"Privately run federal prisons are more dangerous than those managed by the Bureau of Prisons and need more oversight, according to a new report from the Justice Department’s watchdog.

These so-called 'contract prisons' are largely low-security facilities, typically holding undocumented male immigrants convicted of federal crimes with less than 7.5 years left on their sentence. They hold more than 22,000 inmates, about 12 percent of the total federal prison population. They are run by three companies: Corrections Corporation of America; GEO Group, Inc.; and Management and Training Corporation.

Privately run facilities 'incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions,' according to the report, released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. The DOJ’s internal watchdog said the Bureau of Prisons “'needs to improve how it monitors contract prisons in several areas.'”

View the Report

Another Perspective: Don't End Federal Private Prisons 
 
Crime in Context: Violent Crime is up in some Places, but is it really a Trend?
"Is crime in America rising or falling? The answer is not nearly as simple as politicians sometimes make it out to be, because of how the FBI collects and handles crime data from the country’s more than 18,000 police agencies. Those local reports are voluntary and sometimes inconsistent. And the bureau takes months or years to crunch the numbers, so the national data lags behind the current state of crime.

To present a fuller picture of crime in America, The Marshall Project collected and analyzed 40 years of FBI data — through 2014 — on the most serious violent crimes in 68 police jurisdictions. [It] also obtained data directly from 61 local agencies for 2015 — a period for which the FBI has not yet released its numbers. (Our analysis found that violent crime in these jurisdictions rose 4 percent last year. But crime experts caution against making too much of year-over-year statistics.)

In the process, [The Marshall Project was] struck by the wide variation from community to community. To paraphrase an aphorism about politics, all crime is local. Each city has its own trends that depend on the characteristics of the city itself, the time frame, and the type of crime. In fact, the trends vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within cities; a recent study posited that 5 percent of city blocks account for 50 percent of the crime. That is why most Americans believe crime is worse, while significantly fewer believe it is worse where they live."

Predictions put into Practice: a Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of Chicago's Predictive Policing Pilot
"In 2013, the Chicago Police Department conducted a pilot of a predictive policing program designed to reduce gun violence. The program included development of a Strategic Subjects List (SSL) of people estimated to be at highest risk of gun violence who were then referred to local police commanders for a preventive intervention. The purpose of this study is to identify the impact of the pilot on individual- and city-level gun violence, and to test possible drivers of results.

Individuals on the SSL are not more or less likely to become a victim of a homicide or shooting than the comparison group, and this is further supported by city-level analysis. The treated group is more likely to be arrested for a shooting.

It is not clear how the predictions should be used in the field. One potential reason why being placed on the list resulted in an increased chance of being arrested for a shooting is that some officers may have used the list as leads to closing shooting cases. The results provide for a discussion about the future of individual-based predictive policing programs."

Friday, August 5, 2016

Predictive Modeling Combining Short and Long-Term Crime Risk Potential, Final Report
"This project developed a technology capable of predicting future crime-risk potential based on a number of theoretical approaches for understanding localized spatial crime patterns. 

The project had three goals. First, it aimed to determine the way fundamental demographic correlates of crime are linked to next year’s crime levels, even after controlling for this year’s crime levels. Second, the study examined the role of near-repeat crime events that are indicative of a short-term change in relative risk of crime. Third, it developed a computer program that allows for crime predictions based on the theoretical approaches presented. The software is intended for use by cities and jurisdictions across the United States. The project used crime data and Census information for the City of Philadelphia, PA. For four crime types (robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft), a model that included demographic structure and earlier crime from the previous year provided by far the strongest combination of accuracy and parsimony. Lower volume crime types (homicide and rape) were also predicted as well as, or better than, the other four crime types in using the demographics-only model. A model that combines community structural characteristics, crime counts from the previous year, and an estimate of near-repeat activity produced the best results overall. This indicates that small-scale, short-term crime occurrences reflect a complex mix of near-term crime continuities, ecological crime continuities, and ecological structure. Work remains to be done in identifying the processes that maintain these ecological crime continuities, as well as the processes that generate the unfolding ecological discontinuities. The authors note that the processes described ignore offender characteristics, such as race, while focusing on locations of criminal victimization."

View the Report
  
The Civil War that could Doom the NRA
"As the tragic pattern of gun violence continues, federal gun laws remain unchanged, thanks to the hardball tactics of the National Rifle Association. But despite the organization’s $310 million in revenues, political clout, and five-million-plus membership, the N.R.A. does face a genuine threat to its future: a growing divide between its ferocious leadership and sportsman rank-and-file."

Drug Court Review: Findings from the National Cross-Site Evaluation of Juvenile Drug Courts and Reclaiming Futures
"This special issue, Findings from the National cross-Site Evaluation of Juvenile Drug Courts and Reclaiming Futures is devoted to reporting the results of of this comprehensive evaluation.  It contains five articles that (1) provide an overview of the JDC and RF models, (2) examine the process of integrating the two models, (3) describe the client characteristics of those served in the HDC/RF National Evaluation, (4) present an analysis that establishes the critical components of the JDC/RF model, and (5) discuss the importance of community engagement.  Additionally, two commentaries are included.  The first reflects on policy and program implications resulting from the research findings, and the second discusses how the research findings can guide the future of federal, state, and local efforts to respond to and treat youth substance use and addiction issues in the juvenile court system."

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Correctional Service Lacks Compassion Dealing with Families of Inmates Who Die
"Canada's prison watchdog has issued a scathing report on how the federal correctional service communicates with next of kin when an inmate dies. Correctional investigator Howard Sapers says the service has not been compassionate, open or transparent with families.

The report cites a case where a family member arrived to view the body of his loved one at the appointed time, but was informed the inmate had already been cremated.

"'o make matters worse, sometime later, the ashes were couriered to him without prior notice'" reads the report. It quotes the family member saying, 'They cremated him and they sent him by Purolator … sending someone in the mail … it's just not right.'

Sapers says his office decided to conduct a formal review because after years of raising his concerns, Corrections Canada has not changed its ways."

View the Report