Friday, June 16, 2017

Report: America's Prisons are so Polluted they are Endangering Inmates
"According to a new investigation from Earth Island Journal  and Truthout, mass incarceration has led to some of the most egregious examples of environmental injustice. '[M]ass incarceration in the US impacts the health of prisoners, prison-adjacent communities, and local ecosystems from coast to coast,' the authors of the special report said.

Prisons are often located in areas with known environmental hazards. Nearly 600 federal and state prisons are within three miles of a Superfund site on the National Priorities List, and more than  100 of those are just one mile from a site."

View the Report 
 
Police-Reported Hate Crime in Canada, 2015
"In 2015, police reported 1,362 criminal incidents in Canada that were motivated by hate, marking an increase of 5% or 67 more incidents than were reported the previous year. The increase in the total number of incidents was largely attributable to an increase in police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred of a religion (+40 incidents) or of a race or ethnicity (+30 incidents)."
 
Experts Question whether British Police should Carry more Guns after Deadly Terror Attacks
"Police were at the scene of the deadly terror attack on London Bridge within two minutes of receiving the first call. In eight minutes, armed officers had shot dead all three attackers in the Borough Market area.

Seven people were killed in the weekend terror attack and 48 injured, including a police officer armed only with a baton who tried to fight off an attacker wielding a long hunting knife.

The incident, being described as eight minutes of terror, raises questions about the long-standing practice throughout Great Britain of having only specially armed police units. As lone-wolf terrorists use low-technology tactics to target civilians more frequently, should the U.K. consider providing all police officers with guns?"

Trump's "Travel Ban" is Based on an entirely False Legal Premise 
"Donald Trump fired off several tweets this morning about his executive order barring for at least 90 days all immigration or travel to the United States for six Middle Eastern and African nationalities, stating that he thinks it should actually be much broader. I have previously explained why President Trump’s national security justification for the order is completely devoid of evidence. But another fact that we highlighted in our amicus brief deserves attention here: that the order’s supposed 'security' purpose is based on an entirely false legal premise."
 
What are Inmates Learning in Prison? Not Much
"...A report released Thursday by the advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums provided an inside look at educational opportunities within the federal prison system that inmates say suffers from a glaring lack of trained instructors and a scarcity of classes.

The survey found that nearly all continuing education classes are led by fellow prisoners with little teaching experience. Job skills programs are only available to inmates who are nearing release, and college courses are too expensive for inmates whose incomes rely on the few dollars they earn from prison jobs. Very few respondents said they had access to a computer. In one case, a survey respondent said his prison geology class consisted of watching episodes of the BBC television show Planet Earth."

View the Report
 
Drug Deaths in America are Rising Faster than Ever
"Drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States, according to preliminary data compiled by The New York Times.

The death count is the latest consequence of an escalating public health crisis: opioid addiction, now made more deadly by an influx of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and similar drugs. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.

Although the data is preliminary, the Times’s best estimate is that deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017."

The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010-2015
"From the early 1970s into the new millennium, the U.S. prison population experienced unprecedented growth, which had a direct influence on state budgets. In recent years, however, lawmakers in nearly every state and from across the political spectrum have enacted new laws to reduce prison populations and spending. This report, which builds upon the information found in Vera’s 2012 publication The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers, found that 13 states were successful in reducing both population and spending. However, no single reason explains a rise or fall in spending; instead, a multitude of factors push and pull expenditures in different directions."

View the Report
 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Still Life: America's Increasing of Life and Long-Term Sentences
"The number of people serving life sentences in U.S. prisons is at an all-time high. Nearly 162,000 people are serving a life sentence - one of every nine people in prison. An additional 44,311 individuals are serving 'virtual life' sentences of 50 years or more. Incorporating this category of life sentence, the total population serving a life or virtual life sentence reached 206,269 in 2016. 
This represents 13.9 percent of the prison population, or one of every seven people behind bars. A mix of factors has led to the broad use of life sentences in the United States, placing it in stark contrast to practices in other nations.

Every state and the federal government allow prison sentences that are so long that death in prison is presumed. This report provides a comprehensive profile of those living in this deep end of the justice system. Our analysis provides current figures on people serving life with parole (LWP) and life without parole (LWOP) as well as a category of long-term prisoner that has not previously been quantified: those serving 'virtual' or de facto life sentences. Even though virtual life sentences can extend beyond the typical lifespan, because the sentences are not legally considered life sentences, traditional counts of life-sentenced prisoners have excluded them until now."

Death Penalty in 2016: Facts and Figures
"At least 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries in 2016. In 2015 Amnesty International recorded 1,634 executions in 25 countries worldwide - a historical spike unmatched since 1989.

Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan – in that order.

China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a state secret; the global figure of at least 1,032 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.

Excluding China, 87% of all executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

For the first time since 2006, the USA was not one of the five biggest executioners, falling to seventh behind Egypt. The 20 executions in the USA was the lowest in the country since 1991."

View the Report
 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Audit Slams RCMP on Mental Health, Public Safety Minister Says Findings "Disappointing"
"A third report that exposes the RCMP’s failure to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for employees led the public safety minister Tuesday to contradict Canada’s top Mountie on what ails the iconic police force.

It came after Federal Auditor General Michael Ferguson released an audit that found the RCMP failed to allocate enough money and staff to implement a mental health strategy it rolled out in May 2014.

'There’s a good strategy on paper, but the challenge is to actually make that work,' said Ferguson, whose audit directly ties mental health issues to operational effectiveness. 

'This audit is important because poor mental health has a direct impact on the well-being of members, their colleagues and their families. Left unmanaged and unsupported, mental health issues can lead to increased absenteeism, workplace conflict, high turnover, low productivity, and increased use of disability and health benefits.'

'Ultimately, members’ poor mental health affects the RCMP’s capacity to serve and protect Canadians.'”

View the Full Report 
 

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Serious Problems" in Use of Segregation in Prisons, Ontario Ombudsman Reports
"The use of segregation in Ontario jails is full of 'serious problems,' including improper tracking and monitoring of prisoners, says the province’s ombudsman in a new report....

Dubé is calling on the province to clearly define what segregation is, noting that it is inconsistent among correctional facilities, saying it should reflect the conditions inmates are in, and not just simply if they are placed in a “'segregation unit.'

He called on the government to legislate a clear definition of segregation based on the conditions an inmate faces, rather than the actual location within the prison, and train correctional staff. He also urged the province set up 'independent panels to review all segregation placements and place the onus on the ministry (of community safety and correctional services) to show that each placement is justified.'...

The ombudsman’s report notes the toll that segregation takes on inmates, calling it 'a severe form of punishment that can have grave and lasting effects on a person’s mental state,' and said it should only be used as a last resort."

View the Full Report
 
After Decades of Decline, the Murder Rate Increased in 2015 and 2016
"After decades of declines in the murder rate, 2016 may have been the second bloody year in a row in America.

According to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice, the US murder rate rose by 7.8 percent in 2016 compared with 2015. It’s the second year in a row in which the murder rate increased.

The outlook was even worse in big cities. In the 30 largest US cities, Brennan estimated that the murder rate increased by 14 percent from 2015 to 2016, following an increase of 13.2 percent in 2015. These increases were heavily concentrated: More than half of 2015’s urban murder increase happened in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, DC. And more than 40 percent of 2016’s rise happened in Chicago alone, which had a particularly bad year.

Still, Brennan cautioned, the murder rate remained nearly half of what it was 25 years before: 'From 1991 to 2016, the murder rate fell by roughly half, from 9.8 killings per 100,000 to 5.3. With violence at historic lows, modest increases in the murder rate may appear large in percentage terms.'”

An Intelligence in our Image: The Risk of Bias and Errors in Artificial Intelligence
"Machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence systems influence many aspects of people's lives: news articles, movies to watch, people to spend time with, access to credit, and even the investment of capital. Algorithms have been empowered to make such decisions and take actions for the sake of efficiency and speed. Despite these gains, there are concerns about the rapid automation of jobs (even such jobs as journalism and radiology). A better understanding of attitudes toward and interactions with algorithms is essential precisely because of the aura of objectivity and infallibility cultures tend to ascribe to them. This report illustrates some of the shortcomings of algorithmic decisionmaking, identifies key themes around the problem of algorithmic errors and bias, and examines some approaches for combating these problems. This report highlights the added risks and complexities inherent in the use of algorithmic decisionmaking in public policy. The report ends with a survey of approaches for combating these problems."

View the Report
 
Radicalisation in the Digital Era: The Use of the Internet in 15 Cases of Terrorism and Extremism
"This paper presents the results from exploratory primary research into the role of the internet in the radicalisation of 15 terrorists and extremists in the UK. In recent years, policymakers, practitioners and the academic community have begun to examine how the internet influences the process of radicalisation: how a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism associated with terrorism. This study advances the evidence base in the field by drawing on primary data from a variety of sources: evidence presented at trial, computer registries of convicted terrorists, interviews with convicted terrorists and extremists, as well as police senior investigative officers responsible for terrorist investigations. The 15 cases were identified by the research team together with the UK Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and UK Counter Terrorism Units (CTU). The research team gathered primary data relating to five extremist cases (the individuals were part of the Channel programme, a UK government intervention aimed at individuals identified by the police as vulnerable to violent extremism), and ten terrorist cases (convicted in the UK), all of which were anonymised. Our research supports the suggestion that the internet may enhance opportunities to become radicalised and provide a greater opportunity than offline interactions to confirm existing beliefs. However, our evidence does not necessarily support the suggestion that the internet accelerates radicalisation or replaces the need for individuals to meet in person during their radicalisation process. Finally, we didn't find any supporting evidence for the concept of self-radicalisation through the internet."

View the Full Document
 
Monetary Sanctions in the Criminal Justice System
"Monetary sanctions have always been part of the U.S. criminal justice system. Today they are receiving new attention, as recent social, political, and legal developments have raised questions about how they affect poverty, racial and socioeconomic inequality, and the fair and efficient admininistration of justice. This summary report draws on evidence culled from reviews of statutes and case law in nine states to draw attention to the policies and practices that govern the imposition, enforcement, and implications of legal financial obligations."

Road Rage with Guns more than Doubles in Three Years, Report Says
"When the former N.F.L. player Joe McKnight was shot and killed last year in what the authorities described as a case of road rage, it was a high-profile example of what has been a marked increase in the use of guns in such confrontations, a new analysis shows.

The analysis was published by The Trace, a nonprofit news organization focused on gun violence. It found that cases of road rage involving a firearm — where someone brandished a gun or fired one at a driver or passenger — more than doubled to 620 in 2016, from 247 in 2014."

Reviewers are Blinkered by Bibliometrics
"Science panels still rely on poor proxies to judge quality and impact. That results in risk-averse research, say Paula Stephan, Reinhilde Veugelers and Jian Wang.

There is a disconnect between the research that reviewers purport to admire and the research that they actually support. As participants on multiple review panels and scientific councils, we have heard many lament researchers' reluctance to take risks. Yet we've seen the same panels eschew risk and rely on bibliometric indicators for assessments, despite widespread agreement that they are imperfect measures.

Although journal impact factors (JIFs) were developed to assess journals and say little about any individual paper, reviewers routinely justify their evaluations on the basis of where candidates have published. Panel members judge applicants by Google Scholar results and use citation counts to score proposals for new research. This practice prevails even at agencies such as the European Research Council (ERC), which instructs reviewers not to look up bibliometric measures."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Report from Canadian Bar Association: Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Considerations for Lawyers
"The collateral consequences of criminal convictions – or the myriad of rules and restrictions that an offender can face due to their criminal history – can plague your clients for the rest of their lives and restrict their successful rehabilitation back into society. The consequences can have an impact on everything from employment to housing, from family to financial considerations, from immigration to pardons.

Collateral consequences have the power to affect an individual – forever.
For lawyers, it is sometimes difficult to describe the full range of potential consequences to the judge at sentencing. The CBA’s Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions report was created to assist legal professionals in understanding these implications and being fully prepared at the sentencing hearing...before your client’s fate might be sealed indefinitely."

View the Full Report
 
Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs
"Private individuals and policymakers often utilize prohibition as a means of controlling the sale, manufacture, and consumption of particular goods. While the Eighteenth Amendment, which was passed and subsequently repealed in the early 20th century, is often regarded as the first major prohibition in the United States, it certainly was not the last. The War on Drugs, begun under President Richard Nixon, continues to utilize policies of prohibition to achieve a variety of objectives.

Proponents of drug prohibition claim that such policies reduce drug-related crime, decrease drug-related disease and overdose, and are an effective means of disrupting and dismantling organized criminal enterprises.

We analyze the theoretical underpinnings of these claims, using tools and insights from economics, and explore the economics of prohibition and the veracity of proponent claims by analyzing data on overdose deaths, crime, and cartels. Moreover, we offer additional insights through an analysis of U.S. international drug policy utilizing data from U.S. drug policy in Afghanistan. While others have examined the effect of prohibition on domestic outcomes, few have asked how these programs impact foreign policy outcomes.

We conclude that prohibition is not only ineffective, but counterproductive, at achieving the goals of policymakers both domestically and abroad. Given the insights from economics and the available data, we find that the domestic War on Drugs has contributed to an increase in drug overdoses and fostered and sustained the creation of powerful drug cartels. Internationally, we find that prohibition not only fails in its own right, but also actively undermines the goals of the Global War on Terror."

View the Full Report
 
How Police Entanglement with Immigration Enforcement puts LGBTQ Lives at Risk
"During his first week in office, President Donald Trump issued two executive orders that greatly expanded on whom the government focuses deportation resources and that also took steps to increase the role of local law enforcement in immigration enforcement. These orders essentially enact a policy of mass deportation that affects the entire immigrant population but poses a unique threat to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, or LGBTQ, immigrants. In general, LGBTQ people have high levels of contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. LGBTQ immigrants in particular already face increased rates of policing in the United States in addition to the threat of violence in their home countries if they are deported. President Trump’s orders increase the prospect of entanglement between law enforcement and immigration enforcement and therefore increase LGBTQ immigrants’ vulnerability to violence both in the United States—as a result of overpolicing and fear of reporting intimate partner and hate violence—and abroad through deportation."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Province Commits to Releasing all Past and Present SIU Reports as Recommended in Police Review
"Ontario will publish the details of every police-involved fatality dating back to 1990 — when the Special Investigations Unit was established — following a major report into police oversight in the province.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi made that commitment and agreed to immediately implement four other recommendations from Justice Michael Tulloch's report about Ontario's three police watchdogs.

Naqvi said reports from 2005 to present-day will be available by December 2017 and reports dating back to 1990 to 2004 will be available by summer 2018, unless the family objects."

View the Full Report
 
Ottawa is Rethinking its Approach to Immigration Detention
"The Canadian Border Services Agency has released a new report outlining its intention to reduce the use of maximum-security jails and 'better align' itself with international and domestic standards for immigration detention.

The federal government is 'exploring potential policy changes' to reduce the length of immigration detention and get non-violent migrants out of maximum-security jails, according to a new report.

The Canada Border Services Agency’s 'New National Immigration Detention Framework,' released late Friday, is not a concrete plan as much as it is a general set of intentions. But, if implemented, it would signal a substantial shift in how Canada treats its unwanted immigrants."

A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency
"...With the release of A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency, NIC [National Institute of Corrections] and its Pretrial Executive Network helps inform the discussion on bail reform and pretrial justice by presenting and defining the fundamentals of an effective pretrial system and the essential elements of a high functioning pretrial services agency. This publication presents and describes these essential elements—as well as the components of an evidence-based framework for improving pretrial outcomes nationwide"

View the Report 
Law and the New Order: A Fresh Wave of District Attorneys is Redefining Justice
"Criminal justice is one of a small number of issues on which conservatives and liberals have begun to adopt overlapping policy positions, if for different reasons. Conservatives worry about the expense of mass imprisonment; liberals talk about the social costs of hollowing out communities through incarceration. But they are coming together. Following a period in which longer and longer sentences were meted out for increasing numbers of crimes, resulting in huge increases in corrections spending, most states have been rethinking their approach. More than 30 have approved laws that seek to reduce prison populations, while increasing funds for treatment or re-entry programs that can cut down on recidivism. The results have been encouraging, with crime rates remaining low in most jurisdictions even as the number of prisoners drops."
Pre-Trial Algorithms Deserve a Fresh Look, Study Suggests
"What if a predictive tool used at the moment of arraignment could simultaneously reduce the number of people sent to jail before trial, reduce crime, and also reduce racial disparities in incarceration? Such a tool could be a game changer in criminal justice reform. There’s good reason to be skeptical, however: Several high-profile analyses of COMPAS — a popular, commercially available “risk assessment” tool — have claimed that the tool unfairly labels black defendants as higher risk, and it does so more often than it overestimates the risk posed by white defendants.

But a new large scale study — Human Decisions and Machine Predictions—  demonstrates that it’s possible to build a predictive tool that simultaneously accomplishes three desirable goals: reducing pre-trial detention rates, reducing re-arrest rates of those released pending trial, and reducing racial disparities in which defendants are jailed. Policymakers across the ideological spectrum should be interested in this result and encourage further study."

Securing Global Cities: Best Practices, Innovation, and the Path Ahead
"Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Over the next 30 years, that figure will likely increase to 66 percent. This breakneck pace of urban development, coupled with globalization and increased access to information, is changing geopolitics and global economic development....

Securing cities may be emerging as the central challenge of our day. Security for the individuals, communities, businesses, infrastructure, and institutions making up urban areas is crucial in its own right....

...Through conversations with hundreds of practitioners, academics, civic leaders, and government officials over the course of the past year—dialogues that took place in a dozen cities in five countries—we have identified several best practices and principles that should inform the urban security mission."

View the Full Report
 
Crime in the Age of Technology - Europol's Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2017
"In the SOCTA 2017, Europol highlights in particular the role of technology. Criminals have always been adept at exploiting technology. However, the rate of technological innovation and the ability of organised criminals to adapt these technologies have been increasing steadily over recent years. Developments such as the emergence of the online trade in illicit goods and services are set to result in significant shifts in criminal markets and confront law enforcement authorities with new challenges."

View the Full Report 
 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Policing in America: Understanding Public Attitudes Toward the Police. Results from a National Survey
"While 68% of white Americans have a favorable view of the police, only 40% of African Americans and 59% of Hispanics have a favorable view. Attitudes have changed little since the 1970s when 67% of whites and 43% of blacks reported favorable views of the police. Racial minorities do not have monolithic attitudes toward the police. This report finds that Hispanics’ perceptions of police occupy a “middle ground” between black and white Americans’ views...."

View the Report
 
Adult Prison Sentences Make No Sense For Children
"Over the past ten years, half of the states that had previously excluded all 16- and/or 17-year-olds from juvenile court based solely on their age have changed their laws so that most youth under age 18 who touch the justice system will fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system. These policy changes are part of a shift to "raise the age"--reforms focused on moving out of the adult criminal justice system the tens of thousands of youth under 18 who are automatically treated as adults because of age of jurisdiction laws. States have raised the age for many reasons, one of which is research showing that justice-involved teenagers are more likely to move past delinquency and successfully transition to adulthood if they are served by a juvenile justice system, not an adult criminal justice system."

View the Report: Raising the Age: Shifting to a Safer and More Effective Juvenile Justice System
 
Professor Audrey Macklin on Metro Morning: Should Canada Suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement?
Securing Canada's Cyberspace
"While Canadians have openly embraced a new era of digital and technological innovation, the advent of the Internet has ushered in threats formerly unimaginable. What is cybercrime, and how is it perpetrated? More importantly, why — despite greater awareness of cybercrime and the components of an effective cybersecurity strategy — are businesses, governments and individuals still not adequately protecting themselves from online attacks?

In 2016, the Public Policy Forum convened cyber-security experts from government, business and academia to explore these types of complex questions. Over a series of discussions, participants identified legal, philosophical, cultural, resource and education obstacles that deter Canadians from understanding cyber threats and implementing effective solutions."

View the Report
 
Report: Fentanyl's Increasing Flows Fuel Steep Rise in Overdose Deaths
"UNODC launched today [Mar. 6, 2017] a report which sheds light on the rapidly unfolding public health threat posed by extremely potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and its analogues. Information in the report suggests that it is twice as likely to overdose with fentanyl than with heroin. The study is part of the Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programme, designed to provide regular brief reports on emerging patterns and trends of the global synthetic drug situation."

View the Report
 

Friday, February 24, 2017

How do People in High-Crime, Low-Income Communities View the Police?
"This brief represents the experiences, views, and attitudes of community members who are often underrepresented in research on perceptions of law enforcement – people living in high-crime neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage. The survey found that while residents of these neighborhoods are distrustful of police, they nevertheless want to cooperate and partner with police to make their communities safer. A door-to-door survey in high-crime neighborhoods of six cities found that less than a third of residents believe police respect people’s rights, but the vast majority believe laws should be strictly followed and many would volunteer their time to help police solve crimes, find suspects, and discuss crime in their neighborhood."

View the Report
 
The FBI is Building a National Watchlist that Gives Companies Real-Time Updates on Employees
"The FBI's Rap Back program is quietly transforming the way employers conduct background checks. While routine background checks provide employers with a one-time “snapshot” of their employee’s past criminal history, employers enrolled in federal and state Rap Back programs receive ongoing, real-time notifications and updates about their employees’ run-ins with law enforcement, including arrests at protests and charges that do not end up in convictions. ('Rap' is an acronym for Record of Arrest and Prosecution; 'Back” is short for background.)'

Rap Back has been advertised by the FBI as an effort to target individuals in 'positions of trust,' such as those who work with children, the elderly, and the disabled. According to a Rap Back spokesperson, however, there are no formal limits as to 'which populations of individuals can be enrolled in the Rap Back Service.' Civil liberties advocates fear that under Trump’s administration the program will grow with serious consequences for employee privacy, accuracy of records, and fair employment practices."

How to Uproot a "Tree of Death"
"Predictive tools can now track how a single shooting incident triggers a lethal cascade of gunshot violence—and predict who will be targeted next....

...Researchers Ben Green and Thibaut Horel at Harvard and Andrew Papachristos at Yale used a social contagion model and tried to predict gunshot victimization in Chicago between 2006 and 2014.

Using police records of people arrested together for the same offense, they mapped a network of 138,163 subjects and looked at the spread of violence within it. Their model, based on the ones epidemiologists use to understand contagion, assumed that shootings were likely to spread between co-arrestees, who would have close social ties and engage in risky behavior together. When they ran probabilities on people linked to a shooting victim, what they found was staggering: 63 percent of the 11,123 total shootings in the network were part of a longer chain of gunshot victimization. The closer someone was to a victim, the greater the risk of being shot."

View the Study

Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Break Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration
"In the United States, violence and mass incarceration are deeply entwined, though evidence shows that both can decrease at the same time. A new vision is needed to meaningfully address violence and reduce the use of incarceration—and to promote healing among crime survivors and improve public safety. This report describes four principles to guide policies and practices that aim to reduce violence: They should be survivor-centered, based on accountability, safety-driven, and racially equitable."

View the Report 
 
Study Stresses Dangers of Charging Youth as Adults
"Until November of last year, California prosecutors could bypass the juvenile justice system, charging minors in adult courts without any input from a judge. 'Prosecutorial direct filing' is no longer legal after the passage of Prop 57 last November, and now a report from advocacy organization Human Impact Partners, published earlier this month, has made a case for why California should go further–and eliminate the practice of charging youth as adults entirely."

View the Report
 
Following the Money of Mass Incarceration
"The cost of imprisonment — including who benefits and who pays — is a major part of the national discussion around criminal justice policy. But prisons and jails are just one piece of the criminal justice system and the amount of media and policy attention that the various players get is not necessarily proportional to their influence.

In this first-of-its-kind report, we find that the system of mass incarceration costs the government and families of justice-involved people at least $182 billion every year."

Perspectives on the Trump Executive Order on Immigration
"Moderator R. Nicholas Burns was joined by panelists David French, Juliette Kayyem, Gil Kerlikowske, and Moshik Temkin to discuss the ramifications of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. The panelists discussed a wide range of issues relating to border security, constitutional law, and refugee and anti-terrorism efforts under the Trump administration. The panelists also discussed the future of immigration law under the new administration, focusing on the new slate of advisors and cabinet members in the White House and how immigration and refugee law will change moving forward."

Friday, February 10, 2017

Counternetwork: Countering the Establishment of Transnational Criminal Networks
"In July 2011, President Barack Obama promulgated the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. In the letter presenting the strategy, the president stated that the expanding size, scope, and influence of transnational organized crime and its impact on U.S. and international security and governance represent one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century. Through an analysis of transnational criminal networks originating in South America, this report develops a more refined understanding of the operational characteristics of these networks; the strategic alliances that they have established with state and other nonstate actors; and the multiple threats that they pose to U.S. interests and to the stability of the countries where they operate. It identifies U.S. government policies and programs to counter these networks; the roles of the Department of Defense, the geographic combatant commands, component commands, and task forces; and examines how U.S. Army assets and capabilities can contribute to U.S. government efforts to counter these networks. The report also recommends reconsidering the way in which nontraditional national security threats are classified; updating statutory authorities; providing adequate budgets for the counternetwork mission; and improving interagency coordination."

View the Report
 
ACLU: A Model Act for Regulating the Use of Wearable Body Cameras by Law Enforcement

Why Canadian Police Services are not Adopting Body Cameras
"Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been a topic of interest in recent months because of their touted benefits of reducing use of force and improving accountability. Thousands of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have already implemented BWC technology. Conversely, only a handful of agencies in Canada have adopted body cameras.

The largest police service in Canada -- the RCMP -- recently decided to abandon plans to adopt BWCs citing high costs as a main reason. However, the largest municipal service in the country -- the Toronto Police Service (TPS) -- is in the process of finding a suitable supplier before implementing the technology. This comes in response to Toronto's 10-month long study that failed to determine the effectiveness and efficacy of BWCs."

CIA Memo: Designating Muslim Brotherhood Could "Fuel Extremism"
"Trump administration officials pushing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization face at least one significant obstacle: analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency.
CIA experts have warned that so labeling the decades-old Islamist group “may fuel extremism” and damage relations with America's allies, according to a summary of a finished intelligence report for the intelligence community and policymakers...."

Police Boards want Chiefs to have Freedom to Suspend Officers without Pay
"A new survey suggests Ontario’s police governing agencies want the province to grant police chiefs the authority to suspend officers accused of serious misconduct without pay.

More than 100 police boards responded to a survey by the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, which aimed to identify priorities as the provincial government revisits the Police Services Act for the first time in more than 25 years.

Modernizing labour relations practices was one of five areas named, as well as strengthening police board governance, allowing police to delegate some duties to civilians, mandating co-operation with other agencies and improving third-party oversight of police."

View the Survey Results

View the Backgrounder
 
Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithmic Age
"Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment."

Shootings in US Schools are Linked to Increased Unemployment

"A rigorous Northwestern University study of a quarter-century of data has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find jobs, the rate of gun violence at schools increases. 

The interdisciplinary study by data scientists Adam R. Pah and Luís Amaral and sociologist John L. Hagan reveals a persistent connection over time between unemployment and the occurrence of school shootings in the country as a whole, across various regions of the country and within affected cities, including Chicago and New York City." 

View the Report

A rigorous Northwestern University study of a quarter-century of data has found that economic insecurity is related to the rate of gun violence at K-12 and postsecondary schools in the United States. When it becomes more difficult for people coming out of school to find jobs, the rate of gun violence at schools increases.




The interdisciplinary study by data scientists Adam R. Pah and Luís Amaral and sociologist John L. Hagan reveals a persistent connection over time between unemployment and the occurrence of school shootings in the country as a whole, across various regions of the country and within affected cities, including Chicago and New York City.


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-schools-linked-unemployment.html#jCp
National Report from Harvard Raises New Concerns About Criminal Justice Fees
"A national report from Harvard University joins a growing body of literature criticizing the way criminal justice fees and fines are implemented. The report arrives as Massachusetts lawmakers prepare to consider criminal justice reform.
The report was released by the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, along with other research institutes. It argues that fines and fees 'can, if left unchecked, have long-term effects that significantly harm the efforts of formerly incarcerated people to rehabilitate and reintegrate.'"

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Police Foundation: Reducing Violent Crime in American Cities: An Opportunity to Lead

"...Across America, even with the recent increase from 2014-2015, violent crime remains historically low.  However, the national aggregate paints a deceiving picture of crime in many major cities. Individual cities experienced spikes in violent crime from 2014 to 2015, and through 2016 as well. As such, defining violent crime levels based solely on the national aggregates and distributing federal resources accordingly does not address local realities..."

Mass Incarceration and Children's Outcomes
"As many as one in ten African American students has an incarcerated parent. One in four has a parent who is or has been incarcerated. The discriminatory incarceration of African American parents is an important cause of their children’s lowered performance, especially in schools where the trauma of parental incarceration is concentrated. In this report, we review studies from many disciplines showing that parental incarceration leads to an array of cognitive and noncognitive outcomes known to affect children’s performance in school, and we conclude that our criminal justice system makes an important contribution to the racial achievement gap."

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Truth and Post-Truth about Pride and Black Lives Matter Toronto
"Toronto’s police force has long been known for its sophisticated, expensive PR machine. It is thus not surprising that in the wake of the January 17th community meeting to set policy for Toronto’s Pride 2017, the police version of 'Pride policy' was quickly taken up and reproduced in countless media stories, many complete with sad comments from gay or lesbian police officers who (no doubt sincerely) believed they had been exiled from Pride events. The truth was that the meeting voted to exclude police force floats and booths from Pride events.

The Pride organizers have not seemed particularly organized lately, so there is some uncertainty about how things will work out. However, what is indeed true is that Black Lives Matter’s demands, accepted by the majority at the community meeting, did not include banning police officers, queer or otherwise, from participation in Pride events."

Friday, January 20, 2017


Caged In: The "Devastating" Impact of Solitary on the Disabled
"Solitary confinement puts prisoners with physical disabilities at greater risk than inmates in the general population and should never be used unless  such prisoners represent  genuine security risks to themselves or others, an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  study concluded.

The study... said the 'devastating psychological and physical harms' associated with solitary are compounded  when deaf, blind or otherwise disabled inmates are put in that position—even when it is ordered for their safety.

The ACLU researchers said no national  data was available documenting how many of the  80,000 to 100,000 inmates assigned to solitary or administrative segregation on any given day in the U.S. were physically disabled, but figures from some state corrections systems suggest  the problem is increasing as the number of disabled individuals behind bars grows."

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How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated?
"Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. prison population — 576,000 people — are behind bars with no compelling public safety reason, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The first-of-its-kind analysis provides a blueprint for how the country can drastically cut its prison population while still keeping crime rates near historic lows."

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