Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Community-Based Assessment of Police Contact Carding in 31 Division. Final Report
"During the summer of 2014, the Community Assessment of Police Practices (CAPP) research project surveyed over 400 community members across 31 Division in order to determine community satisfaction with policing during the June to August, 2014 time period, measure the impact of the Community Contacts policy, and make recommendations for changes or improvements to the Community Contacts policy....

Through our research, we learned that very few members of the public are aware of the new policy or the formal procedures involved in 'carding'.  We also learned that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the way that police interact with members of the community.  In general, the level of trust in the police is low and many participants expressed negative views regarding the police.  For example, a large number of respondents believe that police regularly abuse their power.  In addition, there is a view that police racially profile members of the community.  Compellingly, this belief was identified among both racialized and non-racialized groups.  While a significant number of respondents identify small improvements  in the relationship between police and community residents since June 2014, roughly 40% still feel that the relationship between police and the community is poor...."

Victims Let Down by Poor Crime-Recording
"The national average rate of under-recording of crime is almost one in five, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has found in its report, ‘Crime-recording: making the victim count', published today.

This was the most extensive inspection and analysis of crime-recording ever carried out, which examined over 8,000 reports of crime to the police. The national average of under-recording of crime is 19 per cent, which amounts to over 800,000 crimes each year. The inspection was into the integrity of police-recorded crime data; it was not an inspection or inquiry into the integrity of the police.

In the audit period (November 2012 – October 2013), police were found to be less likely to record violent and sexual offences as crimes than other crime types. The inspection found that, on the national average, over a quarter of sexual offences and a third of violent crime reported to the police each year are not being recorded as crime."

View the Report and associated documents 
 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Does "Right-to-Carry" Lead to More Crime?
"So-called 'right-to-carry' gun laws are associated with higher rates of aggravated assault, rape, robbery and murder, according to a recently released Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University study.

For decades, gun rights supporters and foes have debated whether laws that allow more people to have guns create an environment where less crime is committed.

All 50 states have laws allowing certain concealed weapons in public.

Researchers expanded on a 2004 National Research Council study that covered county-level crime data between 1977 and 2000, adding in six additional years of county information and state-level data from 1979-2010.

'Our analysis of admittedly imperfect gun aggravated assaults provides suggestive evidence that RTC laws may be associated with large increases in this crime, perhaps increasing such gun assaults by almost 33 percent,' researchers wrote.

The study also found that homicide rates increased in eight states that adopted right-to-carry laws between 1999 and 2010."

View the study
 


View the Sexual Assault Policies on Campus Discussion Paper
Federal Government Considers Privatizing Some Police Services
"The Conservative government is examining the "opportunities and challenges" involved in privatizing some policing services in Canada.

Public Safety officials are commissioning a study to examine the growing industry of private policing in Canada and abroad, and to outline the role private security firms could play in traditional public policing roles.

The study appears to be primarily motivated by the cost of and increased pressure on public forces, despite historically low crime rates."

The Jail that has Reduced Violence by Helping Inmates Escape from the Gang
"Latest Ministry of Justice figures show the number of recorded assaults in English and Welsh prisons has increased by more than 1,000 over the last year, from 14,045 in 2012-13 to 15,441 in 2013-14. The government’s London Crime Reduction Board highlights the worrying significance of gang members driving such violence and offending in custody. And Nick Hardwick, HM chief inspector of prisons, has reported on unacceptably high levels of violence in young offender institutions, such as Isis and Feltham, named last year by the Howard League for Penal Reform as the most violent prison in England and Wales.

Yet since the Catch22 project began in April 2013, the number of violent incidents in Thameside has significantly dropped from a peak of approximately 90 violent incidents per month to fewer than 20. This 75% reduction is highlighted in an evaluation of the project published on 19 November. The research, Gangs in Prison, based on 19 in-depth interviews, clearly shows that leaving a gang is very difficult. 'It is clear that they are coming from and likely returning to very challenging living environments. Prisoners often described their area as a ‘ghetto’ with few opportunities and high levels of crime and violence.'”

View the Gangs in Prison report

Deaths Linked to Terrorism Are Up 60%, Study Finds
"As Western governments grapple with heightened apprehension about the spread of Islamic militancy, an independent study on Tuesday offered little solace, saying the number of fatalities related to terrorism soared 60 percent last year.

Pointing to a geographic imbalance, the report by the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace said five countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria — accounted for four-fifths of the almost 18,000 fatalities attributed to terrorism last year. Iraq had the bloodiest record of all, with more than 6,300 fatalities.

At the same time, the statistics in the organization’s Global Terrorism Index suggested that the world’s industrialized nations — often the target of threats by groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL — had suffered relatively few attacks on their soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, onslaught in the United States and the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings in London."

View the Report

Listening to Young Women's Voices
"McCreary [Centre Society] has published the findings from it's latest report on youth in custody. This report is based on interviews with 57 girls aged 13-19 at the Burnaby Youth Custody Centre, following the centralization of custody services in Burnaby."

View the Report

Community Corrections: Profiteering, Corruption and Widening the Net
"Smoke and Mirrors is a new series that dives into the details of "bipartisan prison reform" to reveal the right-wing, neoliberal carceral sleight of hand that's really at work. It asks hard questions about the content and consequences of various proposals and explores ways in which commitments to unregulated free markets, privatization and states' rights drive the agenda for a new generation of reforms that will reinforce structural racism, intensify economic violence and contribute to the normalization of a surveillance society."

See the related report: Treatment Industrial Complex: How For-Profit Prison Corporations are Undermining Efforts to Treat and Rehabilitate Prisoners for Corporate Gain


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Police Cell is no Place for a Sick Youngster
When an adolescent is seriously ill and desperately needs help, a police key turning in a cell door lock is the last thing they should hear. A night surrounded by criminals and drunks banging on the walls is hardly a helpful environment for any sick person, but for young people with severe mental health problems it can be catastrophic. Despite this, each year hundreds of teenagers find themselves not in hospital beds but banged up.

Police cells are for those suspected of doing wrong, not those whose bodies have somehow gone wrong. But now a dispiriting Health Select Committee report about child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in England has highlighted horribly high levels of detention. The report finds a litany of failings that go far beyond the placement of sick youngsters in custody. Most damning is the number of times police end up looking after someone who really needs a doctor. This is the worst symptom of a system in very poor health indeed.

View the CAMHS Report


Incorporating Racial Equity into Criminal Justice Reform
"There are few areas of American society where racial disparities are as profound and as troubling as in the criminal justice system. This briefing paper provides an overview of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and a framework for developing and implementing remedies for these disparities. We first describe the rationale for incorporating racial equity as a goal of an overall criminal justice reform strategy. Next, we document trends in racial disparity and assess the various causal factors that have produced these outcomes. Finally, we identify a selection of best practices for addressing disparities, along with recommendations for implementation, and provide a guide for establishing rigorous metrics for success."

View the Report

Google's Rapidly Expanding Political Activity and Information Collection Systems Present Cause for Concern
"Google is so rapidly expanding both its information-collecting capabilities and its political clout that it could become too powerful to be held accountable, a new Public Citizen report finds.

'Mission Creep-y: Google Is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collection Empire' looks at the ways Google is accruing power both in terms of the information it collects about the public and the sway it has over federal and state governments, as well as civil society.

Privacy experts say only the National Security Agency (NSA) rivals Google in terms of information gathering, and a recent survey showed that Americans are more concerned about companies like Google than the NSA. But Public Citizen documents that Google has not always warned the public before collecting or combining users’ information in new ways – and some of its collection practices have pushed the boundaries of the law. This is cause for concern as Google expands into new technological developments and acquisitions that collect information beyond what people do on the Internet."

View the Report

Related Report:  Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era

Friday, November 7, 2014

Progress on Women's Rights: Missing in Action
This report reviews Canada's implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and finds that while progress has been made in access to education, it also highlights the areas where inequality has persisted and worsened - particularly in terms of violence against women, political representation, economic security, access to social services, and the additional barriers to equallity faced by Aboriginal women and girls, racialized women, women with disabilities and women from sexual minorities.

View the Report


Secret Manuals Show the Spyware Sold to Despots and Cops Worldwide
"When Apple and Google unveiled new encryption schemes last month, law enforcement officials complained that they wouldn’t be able to unlock evidence on criminals’ digital devices. What they didn’t say is that there are already methods to bypass encryption, thanks to off-the-shelf digital implants readily available to the smallest national agencies and the largest city police forces — easy-to-use software that takes over and monitors digital devices in real time, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

We’re publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software 'Remote Control System,' manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team. Despite FBI director James Comey’s dire warnings about the impact of widespread data scrambling — 'criminals and terrorists would like nothing more,' he declared — Hacking Team explicitly promises on its website that its software can 'defeat encryption.'"

Related Articles:
I'm not a Criminal: Jailed with No Charge, No Sentence, No Oversight
"Sitting in a glassed-off visiting cubicle, Masoud Hajivand pulls up the sleeve of his orange inmate uniform, rotates wrist upward to show ropy scars up his left arm.

That’s from the second time this year the Canadian Border Services Agency tried to deport him to Iran. The first time, two months earlier, six CBSA officers gave up on trying to drag him out of his cell as he wept and clung to the bars....

Hajivand is one of more than 200 immigration detainees held in Ontario’s notoriously crowded jails, many of them without charge. Their cases are reviewed monthly, but in practice they could be incarcerated indefinitely.

All of them, Global News has learned, have been hidden for years from Red Cross attempts to ascertain their well-being and ensure Canada’s living up to its international human rights obligations.

The Canadian Red Cross has conducted annual inspections of immigration detention conditions since 2008, sending its findings in confidential reports to the federal government. Global recently obtained the reports under access-to-information laws."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A documentary about the use of use of security certificates in Canada.  Showing at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema Nov. 7-13.