Friday, November 20, 2015

Chicago Rarely Penalizes Officers for Complaints, Data Shows
"In 18 years with the Chicago Police Department, the nation’s second-largest, Jerome Finnigan had never been disciplined — although 68 citizen complaints had been lodged against him, including accusations that he used excessive force and regularly conducted illegal searches.

Then, in 2011, he admitted to robbing criminal suspects while serving in an elite police unit and ordering a hit on a fellow police officer he thought intended to turn him in. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. 'My bosses knew what I was doing out there, and it went on and on,' he said in court when he pleaded guilty. 'And this wasn’t the exception to the rule. This was the rule.'

Mr. Finnigan is one of thousands of Chicago police officers who have been the subject of citizen complaints over the years but have not been disciplined by the department, according to data released this month by the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization, and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School. Such information is rarely made public and has come to light in Chicago only after a decade-long legal battle by the institute and the clinic."

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Exploiting Emotions about Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits who Empowered ISIS
"Whistleblowers are always accused of helping America’s enemies (top Nixon aides accused Daniel Ellsberg of being a Soviet spy and causing the deaths of Americans with his leak); it’s just the tactical playbook that’s automatically used. So it’s of course unsurprising that ever since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing enabled newspapers around the world to report on secretly implemented programs of mass surveillance, he has been accused by 'officials' and their various media allies of Helping The Terrorists™....

...But now we’ve entered the inevitable 'U.S. Officials Say' stage of the 'reporting' on the Paris attack — i.e., journalists mindlessly and uncritically repeat whatever U.S. officials whisper in their ear about what happened. So now credible news sites are regurgitating the claim that the Paris Terrorists were enabled by Snowden leaks — based on no evidence or specific proof of any kind, needless to say, but just the unverified, obviously self-serving assertions of government officials. But much of the U.S. media loves to repeat rather than scrutinize what government officials tell them to say. So now this accusation has become widespread and is thus worth examining with just some of the actual evidence."

Related Articles:

What Role did Encryption Play in Paris
Another Take on the Lessons of Paris Shootings for Encryption
Declaring War on Terror is Good Rhetoric, Bad Policy

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New Research: How "Recollection Bias" can Hinder Effective Policy

"The ways in which people subconsciously process group trauma events may impair society’s ability to implement effective public policies for reducing the likelihood or consequence of such events.  That is one conclusion reached in a new Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper titled 'Recollection Bias and Its Underpinnings: Lessons from Terrorism-Risk Assessments,' co-authored by Richard J. Zeckhauser, Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy.

Recollection bias is the phenomenon whereby people hold the same perceptions of a risk following a highly unexpected event as they believe they held prior to it. That is, they fail to recognize the learning that should come from highly unusual happenings. Previous research by the same authors showed that only one in five people do not experience this bias.

In this new study, Zeckhauser and co-author W. Kip Viscusi of Vanderbilt Law School focused on responses to two catastrophic attacks that took place in the United States – the 9/11 attacks that took the lives of almost 3,000 people, and the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 – to determine how recollection bias impacts subsequent mitigation strategies."

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International Humanitarian Law and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts
"This is the fourth report on international humanitarian law (IHL) and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (International Conference).  The first three reports were submitted to the International Conferences held in 2003, 2007 and 2011.  These reports aim to provide an overview of some of the challenges posed by contemporary armed conflicts for IHL, to generate broader reflection on those challenges and to outline ongoing or prospective ICRC action, positions and interest."

Read the Full Report

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The "Psychosocial Stress" of Prison Overcrowding
"Time spent in a crowded prison environment continues to have a negative impact on inmates after their release, contributing to parole violations, according to a study published by the nonprofit advocacy organization PLOS (Public Library of Science). The study, entitled 'Does Prison Crowding Predict Higher Rates of Substance Use Related Parole Violations? A Recurrent Events Multi-Level Survival Analysis,' is based on data collected in 2003 and 2004 from 13,070 California parolees.

'If crowding does increase a prisoner's risk of recidivism, this could be explained by the psychosocial stress associated with adverse prison conditions, which may exacerbate decision-making problems (e.g., impulsivity) and problem behaviors (e.g., drug use, aggression) in prison populations,' write authors Michael A. Ruderman , Deirdra F. Wilson and Savanna Reid. 'The high prevalence of substance use disorder (SUD) in prison populations may also be a factor in the high rates of drug-related recidivism seen among California parolees.'

The rates of parole violations were 2.28 to 2.77 times greater for parolees from highly crowded prisons compared to those from prisons with low levels of crowding, the authors write. They conclude that further research is needed to determine whether prison crowding is associated with recidivism and drug use in particular."

View the Report


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What do we know about Sex Offending and Sex Offender Management and Treatment: A Webinar Series
"This webinar series, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART), was designed to provide policymakers and practitioners with trustworthy, up-to-date information they can use to identify and implement what works to combat sexual offending and prevent sexual victimization. The webinars below are based on reviews of the scientific literature on sex offending and sex offender management and treatment topics conducted by a team of subject-matter experts and published by the SMART Office in October, 2014, as part of the SMART Office Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative (SOMAPI), a multi-year SMART Office project designed to assess the state of research and practice in sex offender management and treatment, inform the federal government’s research and grant-making efforts in this area, and share information about what works with the field.

The series consists of nine webinars focusing on evidence from state-of-theart research, knowledge gaps, unresolved controversies, and the implications of key research findings for policy and practice. Topics include the incidence and prevalence of sexual offending; the etiology of sexual offending; sex offender typologies; internet offending; risk assessment; recidivism; treatment effectiveness, and sex offender management including registration and notification."

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Microsoft says its Software can tell if you're going back to Prison
"Microsoft is pitching its software and cloud data storage to law enforcement agencies.  Researchers say that using data to find crime patterns can help stop burglaries, but using data analysis to 'predict' violent crimes is highly problematic.

In a scenario that seems ripped straight from science fiction, Microsoft says its machine learning software can help law enforcement agencies predict whether an inmate is likely to commit another crime by analyzing his or her prison record. 

In a series of videos and events at policing conferences, such as one on Oct. 6 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microsoft has been quietly marketing its software and cloud computing storage to law enforcement agencies. 

It says the software could have several uses, such as allowing departments across the country to analyze social media postings and map them in order to develop a profile for a crime suspect.  The push also includes partnerships with law enforcement technology companies, including Taser - the stun gun maker - to provide police with cloud storage for body camera footage that is compliant with federal standards for law enforcement data.

But in a more visionary - or possibly dystopian - approach, the company is also expanding into a growing market for what is often called predictive policing, using data to pinpoint people most likely to be at risk of being involved in future crimes." 

Related Article:  Can "Predictive Policing" Software help City Police Prevent Crime? 

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Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis (U.S.)
"Major media outlets have reported that murder has surged in some of the nation’s largest cities. These stories have been based on a patchwork of data, typically from a very small sample of cities. Without geographically complete and historically comparable data, it is difficult to discern whether the increases these articles report are purely local anomalies, or are instead part of a larger national trend.
This report provides a preliminary in-depth look at current national crime rates. It provides data on crime and murder for the 30 largest U.S. cities by population in 2015 and compares that to historical data. This analysis relies on data collected from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police departments. The authors were able to obtain preliminary 2015 murder statistics from 25 police departments in the nation’s 30 largest cities and broader crime data from 19 of the 30. The data covers the period from January 1 to October 1, 2015. As this report relies on initial data and projects crime data for the reminder of the year, its findings should be treated as preliminary as they may change when final figures are available."
View the Report

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