Friday, June 8, 2018

Black Canadians and the Justice System
"Black people are dramatically over-represented in Canada’s prison system, making up 8.6 of the federal prison population, despite the fact they make up only 3 percent of the population. What is more, between 2003 and 2013, the incarceration rate among Black people increased by nearly 90 percent.

Anthony Morgan says the targeted policing of Black people in Canada isn’t only happening through the justice system. It’s also taking place in our education, child welfare and health care systems."

Part of an ongoing feature series Widening the Lens on Criminal Justice Reform

 

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One in Five Young American Adults Felled by Opioids: Study
"One in five deaths among adults aged 25-34 is due to opioid-related causes, according to a study published this month in JAMA Network Open, an online journal published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Currently, the chance of dying in the US due to an opioid overdose is higher than that of dying in an accident, but the burden falls heaviest on young adults, the study found in a 15-year analysis of US mortality numbers through 2016."

Link to Study
 

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Statistics Canada: Violent Victimization of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals in Canada 2014
Canadians who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience violent victimization in the previous 12 months.

Today, a Juristat article focusing on the self-reported experiences of "Violent victimization of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Canada, 2014," is available. The article uses data from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization).

Among Canadians aged 18 and older, there were more than 100,000 self-reported incidents of violent victimization—that is, physical assault, sexual assault or robbery—involving a bisexual victim. In addition, there were more than 49,000 violent incidents involving a lesbian or gay victim. That corresponds to rates of 267 violent incidents per 1,000 population for bisexual victims, and 142 per 1,000 population for lesbian or gay victims.

By comparison, the rate of self-reported violent victimization among heterosexual individuals was 69 incidents per 1,000 population. 

Link to the Full Text Juristat Article

 

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Smart Guns Exist. Why Aren't They On The Market?
"As a high school science fair project, Kai Kloepfer developed a handgun that can only be activated by its owner’s fingerprints. He was 15 at the time. His goal was to reduce deaths by creating a gun that won’t function in the hands of toddlers, suicidal teens, or anyone without permission to use it.

Now, six years later, that project has evolved into the startup Biofire Technologies, which is poised to put its first smart gun on the market. The startup is part of a small but motivated group of companies that are racing to launch the country’s first smart gun.


There’s a problem though: even if the gun is developed, gun shops aren’t likely to sell it. This is due to a combination of factors, namely a New Jersey law requiring that any handgun sold in the state must be a smart gun, as soon as smart guns are commercially available in the country."


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Spending on Inmate Mental Health Cuts the Cost of Crime: White House Study
"Programs that focus on addressing mental health and substance abuse issues of inmates can reduce the burden of crime on American taxpayers, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

In a policy brief issued this month, the CEA suggested that every dollar spent on prison reform in these programs could save between $0.92 and $3.31, and up to $1.96 on long-term incarceration costs alone.

The study was undertaken as part of the Trump administrations efforts to improve prison reform and re-entry programs that would result in lower recidivism."

View the Policy Brief
 

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What Impact do Public Sex Offender Registries Have On Community Safety?
"Sexual offending has a significant impact on victims and can cause considerable angst within the community. The effective management of sex offenders in the community is of paramount importance. 

This paper reviews the latest empirical evidence from Australia and overseas regarding the effectiveness of public and non-public sex offender registries. Results show that while public sex offender registries may have a small general deterrent effect on first time offenders, they do not reduce recidivism. Further, despite having strong public support, they appear to have little effect on levels of fear in the community. 

While the evidence is limited to a small number of US studies, non-public sex offender registries do appear to reduce reoffending by assisting law enforcement."

 

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The Milwaukee Police Department's Body-Worn Camera Program

"This brief describes the results of the Urban Institute’s evaluation of the Milwaukee Police Department’s body-worn camera program. From October 2015 to December 2016, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) deployed body-worn cameras (BWCs) in a phased rollout to all of its roughly 1,100 patrol officers. Through a randomized controlled trial of 504 officers, the Urban Institute found that those who wore BWCs conducted fewer subject stops and were less likely to receive a complaint than officers who were not equipped with cameras. However, BWCs had no effect on whether officers engaged in use of force during the study period."
 

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Criminal Restitution: Tens of Billions in Debt Remain Unpaid
"Offenders owe $110 billion in criminal restitution to their victims, but the vast majority is 'uncollectible,' according to a new federal government report....


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed sentencing data for offenders sentenced between fiscal years 2014 and 2016. They also looked at the amount of restitution debt collected nationwide over that period.

Key takeaways:
  • Judges ordered 15 percent of federal offenders to pay restitution. Offenses for which courts ordered restitution most often were fraud, embezzlement, arson, auto theft, tax-related crimes, robbery, burglary and larceny. Thirty percent of offenders convicted of murder were ordered to compensate victims.
  • The amount of restitution ordered between 2014 and 2016 totaled $33.9 billion.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, U.S. Attorney’s Offices collected a total of $2.95 billion. Half of that came from debts imposed between fiscal years 1988 and 2014.
  • As of the end of fiscal year 2016, $110 billion in restitution debt was outstanding. The federal government has deemed $100 billion of that to be “uncollectible” based on the offender’s ability to pay. Almost all — 95 percent — of offenders ordered to pay restitution received a waiver allowing them to forgo payment because they had no ability to pay."

View the Report:  “Federal Criminal Restitution: Most Debt Is Outstanding and Oversight of Collections Could Be Improved,”


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Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security
"3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​
A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats.
The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions...."

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Global Prison Trends 2018
"Global Prison Trends 2018 is the fourth edition in PRI’s annual flagship Global Prison Trends series, which identifies topical developments and challenges in criminal justice and prison policy and practice.

Global Prison Trends 2018 explores:
  • Trends in the use of imprisonment, including the use of pre-trial detention as an automatic response to suspects; the ongoing challenge of prison overcrowding; and the steady growth in the number of life-sentenced prisoners around the world.
  • Prison populations, such as the specific needs of women, children and LGBTI prisoners.
  • Developments and challenges in prison management, including record levels of prisoner violence in a number of prison systems; healthcare challenges and shortages of qualified healthcare staff; and the need to address violent extremism and prevent radicalisation in the prison system.
  • The role of technology in criminal justice and prison systems, such as the use of ‘telemedicine’ to provide mental healthcare and treatment, and the rise in access to online education and training.
  • The expansion of prison alternatives, including community service orders and electronic monitoring, and a growing trend in the use of restorative justice."

View the Full Report
 

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Shining a Light on the Encryption Debate: A Canadian Field Guide
"Access to strong encryption technology is integral to the defense of human rights in the twenty-first century. This technology is also essential for securing digital transactions, ensuring public safety, and protecting national security interests. Yet many state agencies have continued to argue that encryption poses an unacceptable barrier to their investigative and intelligence-gathering activities. In response, some governments have called for limits on the public availability and use of secure, uncompromised encryption technology.

Shining a Light on the Encryption Debate: A Canadian Field Guide — co-authored by the Citizen Lab and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) — examines the parameters of this debate, paying particular attention to the Canadian context. It provides critical insight and analysis for policymakers, legal professionals, academics, journalists, and advocates who are trying to navigate the complex implications of these technologies."

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