Friday, October 6, 2017

Prison: Evidence of its Use and Overuse from Around the World
"Across much of the world, recent decades have seen rapid and unrelenting growth in the use of imprisonment as a response to crime and social disorder. Today, well over 10 million people are imprisoned worldwide. Jurisdictions that have seen the fastest growth in prisoner numbers include the United States, where the total prison population more than quadrupled from around half a million in 1980 to its peak of over 2.3 million in 2008. Brazil has seen prisoner numbers increase twenty-fold from around 30,000 in 1973 to over 600,000 today. England and Wales provides another – albeit less dramatic – example of prison population growth: in 1975 there were around 40,000 prisoners; by 2012 the number had more than doubled to almost 87,000."

"This report looks at patterns of imprisonment in ten contrasting jurisdictions across all five continents of the world."

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Short but not Sweet: a Study of the Impact of Short Custodial Sentences on Mothers &Their Children
"This research report is based on a small scale study of 17 post prison mothers, and their fifty children The report serves to highlight the significant harm of short custodial sentences on mothers and their children. The report, heavy with the voices of post prison mothers, identifies mothers' own view of the impact of short custodial sentences on themselves and their children. Mothers described challenges to their physical and mental health, challenges in relation to contact, lack of maternal support and significant impact on children. The report echo's previous research findings in relation to the harm of custodial sentences for mothers, reiterating that previously identified harms occur even when sentences are a matter of weeks as opposed to months. The report makes recommendations for positive change. The report concludes with suggestions for future research."

View the Report

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Knowing More, But Accomplishing What? Developing Approaches to Measure the Effects of Information-Sharing on Criminal Justice Outcomes
"Information-sharing became a central element of the policy debate about U.S. homeland and national security after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. However, sharing of information across jurisdictional lines is just as important for everyday criminal justice efforts to prevent and investigate crime, and systems to provide such capabilities have been in place for many years. Despite widespread belief that information-sharing is valuable, there have been relatively limited efforts to measure its effect on criminal justice outcomes. To help address this need, we examined the measurement of information-sharing effects from the strategic to the tactical levels, with a focus on developing reliable measurements that capture the range of ways sharing can affect outcomes and how the practicalities of law enforcement work practices can affect measurement. In collaboration with an advanced regional information-sharing agency, we developed techniques to examine the effects of multiple types of data-sharing at the officer, case, and offender levels. Analyses showed significant correlations between different types of sharing on the level of interagency involvement in cases for individual offenders, on the timing and likelihood of specific law enforcement events, and on the likelihood of individual police officers to be involved in cross-jurisdictional arrests. In addition, we explored lessons for future policy evaluation and information system design to facilitate measurement."

View the Report

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Cocaine Consumption on the Rise?  Think Again
"Colombia's coca cultivation boom is not only being blamed for increased cocaine consumption in the United States, it is also being held responsible for an alleged growth in local demand in Colombia. But the evidence doesn't stack up. And these unsubstantiated notions are being used to drum up support for misguided anti-narcotic policies."

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When Bad DNA Tests Lead to False Convictions
"If you’ve ever watched a prime-time crime drama like CSI, you know that DNA evidence is often the linchpin that makes a case. Match a suspect’s DNA to DNA found at the scene of a crime and it’s certain they’re the culprit. The thing is, it’s not always that simple. Most people think of DNA testing as a monolithic, infallible technique. But there are many different kinds of tests—and many different ways of interpreting them. Sometimes, somewhere between the process of collecting evidence at the scene and processing it in the lab, something goes awry."

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Federal Prisons at a Crossroads
"The number of people incarcerated in federal prisons has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, while most states enacted reforms to reduce their prison populations over the past decade, the federal prison system has downsized at twice the nationwide rate. But recently enacted policy changes at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and certain Congressional proposals appear poised to reverse this progress.

Congress, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), and the DOJ reduced the federal prison population by reforming sentencing laws, revising sentencing guidelines, and modifying charging directives, respectively. But the DOJ's budget proposal for 2018 forecasts a 2% increase in the federal prison population."

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Friday, September 15, 2017

EU Money Laundering Analysis Offers Lessons for Latin America
"A new report by the European police agency Europol examines why so much suspect financial activity results in so few money laundering prosecutions, and offers recommendations to improve the success rate that contain important lessons for Latin America's anti-money laundering frameworks and investigative bodies.

The report, "From Suspicion to Action – Converting financial information into greater operational impact," details how between 2006 and 2014 the European Union (EU) saw a 70 percent increase in suspicious transaction reports (STRs), the filings of suspicious activity that financial institutions and certain commercial actors are obliged to make to their country's Financial Investigation Unit (FIU).

The STRs, of which there were nearly 1 million across the EU in 2014, form the building blocks of money laundering investigations. Europol acknowledges the impossibility of accurately assessing data that is compiled and used in different ways in different countries. Nevertheless, the police body estimates that an average of just 10 percent of STRs are put to use each year.

The rate of success for investigations that begin with an STR was even lower. From 2010 to 2014, Europol found that just 2.2 percent of the estimated proceeds of crime were provisionally seized or frozen, and only 1.1 percent of criminal profits were ultimately confiscated at the EU level.

View the Report

 

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When Cops Commit Crimes: Inside the First Database that Tracks America's Criminal Cops
"Twelve years ago, a criminal justice master’s student named Philip Stinson got into an argument with his grad school classmates about how often police officers committed crimes. His peers, many of whom were cops themselves, thought police crime was rare, but Stinson, himself a former cop and attorney, thought the problem was bigger than anyone knew. He bet a pint of ale that he could prove it.
...Stinson made good on his bet with an extensive police crime database offering the most comprehensive look ever at how often American cops are arrested, as well as some early insights into the consequences they face for breaking the laws they’re supposed to enforce."
 

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Less is More: How Reducing Probation Populations Can Improve Outcomes
"In this new report, co-authored by Michael Jacobson, Vincent Schiraldi, Reagan Daly, and Emily Hotez, the authors discuss the consequences of the tremendous growth in probation supervision over the past several decades in the United States and argue that the number of people on probation supervision needs to be significantly downsized.

The authors find that probation has often not served as an alternative to incarceration, but rather as a key driver of mass incarceration in the United States. Despite the large numbers of individuals under supervision, probation is the most underfunded of agencies within the criminal justice system. This leaves those under supervision, often an impoverished population, with the responsibility of paying for probation supervision fees, court costs, urinalysis tests, and electronic monitoring fees among a plethora of other fines. These financial obligations have incredibly detrimental implications on the mental and economic state of those under supervision and is argued to be an unjust and ineffective public policy.

Using New York City as an example, the authors outline how the probation department there was able to see a two-thirds decline in the number of people under community supervision from 1996 to 2014. At the same time that this decline happened, the city’s rate of crime and incarceration both decreased precipitously, showing that jurisdictions can experience fewer people on probation, less crime and less incarceration."

View the Report
 

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The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy
"This article, the first of a three-part series, examines how the rules governing sexual-assault adjudication have changed in recent years, and why some of those changes are problematic. Part II will look at how a new—and inaccurate—science regarding key characteristics of sexual assault has biased adjudications and fostered unhealthy ideas about assault on campus. Part III considers a facet of the sexual assault adjudications that demands considerably more attention than it has received."

Part II - The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault

Part III - The Question of Race in Campus Sexual-Assault Cases

 

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Black and Mixed Ethnicity Women more than Twice as Likely to Face Arrest
"Black and mixed ethnicity women are more than twice as likely as white women in the general population to be arrested, according to a new report ...by the Prison Reform Trust.

Black women are also more likely than other women to be remanded or sentenced to custody, and are 25% more likely than white women to receive a custodial sentence following a conviction, the report reveals. Black, Asian and minority ethnic women make up 11.9% of the women’s population in England and Wales, but account for 18% of the women’s prison population."

View the Report
 

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Friday, September 1, 2017

The Militarization of America's Police May Reduce Crime: New Study
"Since 1997, the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency has transferred surplus military equipment worth over $6 billion to more than 8,000 police agencies across the United States, according to official figures. Known as the 1033 Program, it is not without controversy, especially after police used armored vehicles and other military equipment to quell protests following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

The equipment includes everything from rifles and helicopters to uniforms and computers. Police departments receive the gear for free, though they are responsible for paying shipping costs. In 2015, after the violence in Ferguson drew national attention, the White House introduced some restrictions on the transfers; the Defense Logistics Agency would no longer give police grenade launchers, tanks or armed aircraft, for example.

Proponents of the transfers say the equipment helps police forces tackle crime. Opponents argue that the militarization of police forces drives a wedge between communities and those vowing to protect them. A new scholarly paper may disappoint the program’s critics."

View the Study

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Murders Surge in Florida in Decade after "Stand Your Ground" Law
"Murders climbed 22 percent in Florida in the decade after the state enacted its `Stand Your Ground’ self-defense law, even after accounting for the expected spike in justifiable homicides, a new study suggests.

Before the law took effect in October 2005, Florida residents had a right to use lethal force when they felt their life was endangered by a home intruder. The `Stand Your Ground’ law extended this right beyond the home, justifying deadly force for self-defense in other situations. 

On average, from 1999 to 2005, lawful homicides accounted for just 3.4 percent of all homicides in Florida. Between 2006 and 2015, the proportion of lawful homicides rose, accounting on average for 8.7 percent of homicides, researchers report in JAMA Internal Medicine."

View the Study
 

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Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly
"Recent U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policy banned transgender personnel from serving openly in the military. Potential changes to this policy raised questions regarding access to gender transition–related health care, the range of transition-related treatments that DoD will need to provide, the potential costs associated with these treatments, and the impact of these health care needs on force readiness and the deployability of transgender service members. A RAND study identified the health care needs of the transgender population and transgender service members in particular. It also examined the costs of covering transition-related treatments, assessed the potential readiness implications of a policy change, and reviewed the experiences of foreign militaries that permit transgender personnel to serve openly."

View the Report
 

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Poor, Rural and Addicted: Drugs Drive Surge in White Women in Prison
"...The reasons for the influx of white women into prison aren't entirely clear. Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, has documented dramatic changes in the racial makeup of female prisoners across the country. He said tough sentencing for drug crimes accounts for much of the growth in the number of incarcerated women, driven by the decline of crack - which was more prevalent in inner cities - and the rise of meth and opioids in rural areas.

Incarceration is just one symptom of deeper problems affecting white women, especially those with little education who live in rural areas, Mauer said. Demographers last year noted a rare decline in life expectancy for this group, driven by a surge in deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicide. Deaths among middle-aged women in small cities, towns and rural communities have risen the most, according to economists Ann Case and Angus Deaton."

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Algorithms in the Criminal Justice System: Assessing the Use of Risk Assessments in Sentencing
"In the summer of 2016, some unusual headlines began appearing in news outlets across the United States. 'Secret Algorithms That Predict Future Criminals Get a Thumbs Up From the Wisconsin Supreme Court,' read one. Another declared: 'There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.' These news stories (and others like them) drew attention to a previously obscure but fast-growing area in the field of criminal justice: the use of risk assessment software, powered by sophisticated and sometimes proprietary algorithms, to predict whether individual criminals are likely candidates for recidivism. In recent years, these programs have spread like wildfire throughout the American judicial system. They are now being used in a broad capacity, in areas ranging from pre-trial risk assessment to sentencing and probation hearings.

This paper focuses on the latest—and perhaps most concerning—use of these risk assessment tools: their incorporation into the criminal sentencing process, a development which raises fundamental legal and ethical questions about fairness, accountability, and transparency. The goal is to provide an overview of these issues and offer a set of key considerations and questions for further research that can help local policymakers who are currently implementing or considering implementing similar systems. We start by putting this trend in context: the history of actuarial risk in the American legal system and the evolution of algorithmic risk assessments as the latest incarnation of a much broader trend. We go on to discuss how these tools are used in sentencing specifically and how that differs from other contexts like pre-trial risk assessment. We then delve into the legal and policy questions raised by the use of risk assessment software in sentencing decisions, including the potential for constitutional challenges under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Finally, we summarize the challenges that these systems create for law and policymakers in the United States, and outline a series of possible best practices to ensure that these systems are deployed in a manner that promotes fairness, transparency, and accountability in the criminal justice system."

View the Report
 

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The Ongoing March of the EU's Security-Industrial Complex
"The EU has hit troubled waters in recent years, but divisions and tensions within the bloc have not halted significant advances in the development and implementation of new security measures aiming to counter terrorism, fight crime, ensure 'border management' and protect critical infrastructure at the same time as constructing a European 'homeland security' economy able to compete with states such as the USA, Israel and China.

Propelled by a healthy dose of corporate influence and assistance, measures already in place or on the way include the EU-wide border surveillance system Eurosur; a new network of ‘Passenger Information Units’ for police profiling of air and, in the future, rail and ferry passengers; biometric databases and recognition and identification systems for public and private use alike; and new data-mining and predictive analysis tools that foresee police forces wielding powers akin to those traditionally reserved for intelligence agencies."

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Recent Council of Europe Publications:

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Youth Homelessness Linked to Foster Care System in New Study
 "A first-of-its-kind study in Canada is drawing a link between youth homelessness levels and a foster care system that researchers say could be playing a more active role in keeping young people off the streets.

The study ... found nearly three out of every five homeless youth were part of the child welfare system at some point in their lives, a rate almost 200 times greater than that of the general population.

Of those with a history in the child welfare system, almost two of every five respondents eventually 'aged out' of provincial or territorial care, losing access to the sort of support that could have kept them from becoming homeless, the study found.

Canada is creating a group of young people who are at higher risk of becoming homeless because they lack resources when coming out of foster care, said Stephen Gaetz, the study's co-author and director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

The report urges the federal government to focus on preventing youth homelessness — particularly among Indigenous youth — and provinces and territories to focus on "after care" by providing support as needed until age 25."

View the Report
 

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Video Chat Price-Gouging Costs Inmates More Than Money
"The more incarcerated people get to visit with their loved ones while they’re serving time, the less likely they are to reoffend later on. Research has repeatedly shown it. Just where video visitation rights fall into that, though, has become a serious point of contention.

Criminal justice reform advocates have vehemently opposed the creep of video-only visitations into American jails and prisons. Video visits, which inmates pay for, often replace in-person visits entirely, while filling the coffers of for-profit vendors and local jails. In fact, one 2015 study by the Prison Policy Initiative found that 74 percent of jails that adopt video visitation have also banned in-person visits. Not only does that rob incarcerated people of the opportunity to see their children and families face to face, but every minute spent on these glitchy systems costs families money they often don’t have.

A new study by the prison reform advocacy group Vera Institute of Justice, though, found that when Washington State’s Department of Corrections introduced supplemental video visitations in 2013, inmates who made video calls actually received more in-person visits. It also found that few people actually used the video system, because of the poor quality of the calls and the exorbitant $12.95 price tag for a 30-minute connection. Taken together, the findings suggest that while video visitation could help recidivism rates among US prisoners, corporate and government greed have hamstrung its positive effects."

View the Report
 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Use of Restrictive Housing for Inmates with Mental Illness 
 "The Federal bureau of Prisons (BOP) is responsible for confining offenders in environments that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure.  To do so, the BOP utilizes various forms or Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) to confine certain inmates, including those with mental illness.  However, according to recent research and reports, as well as the BOP's own policy, confinement in RHUs, even for relatively short periods of time, can adversely affect inmates' mental health and be particularly harmful for inmates with mental illness....

 The Office of the Inspector General conducted this review to examine the BOP's use of RHUs for inmates with mental illness, including trends in the use of restrictive housing and the screening, treatment, and monitoring of inmates with mental illness who are housed in RHUs.  We found significant issues with the adequacy of the BOP's policies and its implementation efforts in this critical area."
 

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More than Half of Black Residents in GTA have been stopped by Police in Public, new Report says
"A new report is shedding light on the types of interactions members of the black community in the GTA have with police officers.

One of the themes in 'The Black Experience Project' explores relations with police services, highlighting both negative and positive interactions with officers.

More than 50 per cent of those surveyed said they have been stopped by police in public places and that number jumps to nearly 80 per cent among males between the ages of 25 and 44....

After more than seven years of research, interviews, and community engagement, 'The Black Experience Project' study released its findings, aiming to answer the central question: 'what does it mean to be black in the GTA?'"

View the Report 

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Just Launched: Toronto Police Public Safety Data Portal

Provides access to detailed crime datasets compiled by the Toronto Police Service
 

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Online Harassment 2017
"Roughly four-in-ten Americans have personally experienced online harassment, and 62% consider it a major problem. Many want technology firms to do more, but they are divided on how to balance free speech and safety issues online.

To borrow an expression from the technology industry, harassment is now a 'feature' of life online for many Americans. In its milder forms, it creates a layer of negativity that people must sift through as they navigate their daily routines online. At its most severe, it can compromise users’ privacy, force them to choose when and where to participate online, or even pose a threat to their physical safety.


A new, nationally representative Pew Research Center survey of 4,248 U.S. adults finds that 41% of Americans have been personally subjected to harassing behavior online, and an even larger share (66%) has witnessed these behaviors directed at others. In some cases, these experiences are limited to behaviors that can be ignored or shrugged off as a nuisance of online life, such as offensive name-calling or efforts to embarrass someone. But nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) have been subjected to particularly severe forms of harassment online, such as physical threats, harassment over a sustained period, sexual harassment or stalking....

For those who experience online harassment directly, these encounters can have profound real-world consequences, ranging from mental or emotional stress to reputational damage or even fear for one’s personal safety...."

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Nine Lessons about Criminal Justice Reform
What Washington can learn from the states.

"Since November, a kind of fatalistic cloud has settled over the campaign to reform the federal criminal justice system. With a law-and-order president, a tough-on-crime attorney general, and a Congress that has become even more polarized than it was in former President Barack Obama’s time, most reform advocates say any serious fixes to the federal system are unlikely....

Here are a few lessons Washington can learn from the states...."

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Whose Speech is Chilled by Surveillance?
"Women and young people are more likely to self-censor if they think they’re being monitored.

Earlier this month, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats backtracked on a promise to disclose how many Americans’ communications have been swept up in warrantless mass surveillance of foreign targets. In fact, Coats admitted that even 'Herculean' efforts by the NSA would be unable to the determine the number, which Reuters reports 'could be in the millions.'

...Activists and rights experts have long argued that such state activities and threats can have a significant chilling effect on our rights and freedoms. Though skepticism persists about the existence of such chilling effects—they are often subtle, difficult to measure, and people are unaware how they are impacted—several recent studies have documented the phenomenon. My own research, which received media coverage last year, examined how Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance chilled people’s Wikipedia use.

Yet significant gaps remain in our understanding, including how certain people, groups, or specific online activities may be chilled more so than others, or the comparative impact of different state activities or regulatory threats.

As it turns out, these threats likely do have a chilling effect on things we do online every day—from online speech and discussion, to internet search, to sharing content. And certain people or groups—like women or young people—may be affected more than others.

These are among the key findings I discuss in my new chilling effects research paper, published in the peer-reviewed Internet Policy Review, based on an empirical case study from my doctorate at the University of Oxford...."

View the Full-Text Article
 

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The Biometric Frontier: "Show me your Papers" becomes "Open your Eyes" as Border Sheriffs Expand Iris Surveillance
"Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has found little funding for his 'big, beautiful wall.' In the meantime, however, another acquisition promised to deter unauthorized immigrants is coming to the border: iris recognition devices. Thirty-one sheriffs, representing every county along the U.S.-Mexico border, voted unanimously on April 3 to adopt tools that will capture, catalogue, and compare individuals’ iris data, for use both in jails and out on patrol. Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies, the company behind the push, has offered the sheriffs a free three-year trial, citing law enforcement’s difficulties in identifying unauthorized immigrants whose fingerprints can be disfigured through manual labor or self-inflicted wounds.

Iris recognition is just the latest surveillance technology helping fortify what the White House hopes will make up a 'digital wall,' a concept that many border sheriffs view as less intrusive than Trump’s envisioned 30-foot barricade stretching from Brownsville, Texas, to San Diego, California. For law enforcement, the tool promises to help identify people without reliable fingerprints and to deter repeat border crossers. And for Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies, which frequently goes by BI2, rapid border expansion means its existing national iris database will receive a huge influx of biometric information on unauthorized immigrants, boosting its product’s capabilities to potential law enforcement clients across the country."

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How Strategic is Chicago's "Strategic Subjects List"?
"For the past four years, the Chicago Police Department has been working with researchers to build a system for judging which city residents are most likely to be involved in a shooting — either pulling the trigger, or getting shot. The resulting 'heat list' — officially called the Strategic Subjects List (SSL) — has, for the most part, been shrouded in secrecy and speculation. What we’ve known is that everyone on the list gets a risk score, reflecting their predicted likelihood of being involved in a shooting.

The list is, to our knowledge, the highest-profile person-based predictive policing system in use across the United States. Perhaps that’s why it has attracted significant press attention — often including overstated comparisons to Minority Report — even though little is known about how it works. Most predictive policing systems fielded by major U.S police departments today are 'place-based,' meaning they attempt to forecast when and where future crime may occur. Chicago’s system, by contrast, tries to forecast who will be involved."

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Creepy ways Companies are Spying: New Privacy International Database Reveals Disturbing Details
"Human rights advocacy group Privacy International (PI) has launched a new searchable database that aims to map and highlights all the creepy technology solutions being sold around the world to enable surveillance on citizens, the companies that sell these solutions and the agencies they are selling them to.

The Surveillance Industry Index database, co-developed with pro-transparency software group Transparency Toolkit, features information on over 520 surveillance companies in the world, together with more than 1,500 brochures on surveillance technology solutions.

There are also 600 reports detailing where specific surveillance technologies were exported to that have been compiled by activists, journalists and researchers from looking at open source records, as well as investigative and technical reports, and government licensing data."

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"Wireless Prisons" Exploit Inmates with High Users Fees, Claims Study
"Prisons should be wary of private communications firms that 'exploit' incarcerated individuals by charging high fees for the use of their services, the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) warned in a report today.

In a study of a contract awarded by the Colorado Department of Corrections to GTL (formerly Global Tel*Link) to provide computer tablets to inmates of the state’s prisons, PPI charged prisoners would be forced to pay 'exploitive pay-to-play' and subscription-based fees far higher than they would pay outside.

For example, inmates would have to pay 49 cents per electronic message or $19.99 a month for a music subscription. The contract gives GTL the power to raise prices when it suits the company’s interests, or 'to back out of the contract if it doesn’t make as much money as it hopes to,' wrote Stephen Raher in the report, entitled, 'The Wireless Prison: How Colorado’s tablet computer program misses opportunities and monetizes the poor.'”

View the Report
 

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Does Military Equipment Lead Police Officers to be more Violent?
"When law enforcement agencies are increasingly militarized, do officers become more violent?

...The 1996 National Defense Authorization Act allows the defense secretary to give local law enforcement the Defense Department’s  excess military equipment at no cost under the 1033 Program created by the act  — and the department increasingly made such transfers over the subsequent two decades....

In 1998, about $9.4 million in equipment was transferred to 290 law enforcement agencies. That amount began to jump dramatically after the 9/11 terrorist attacks....

Even controlling for other possible factors in police violence (such as household income, overall and black population, violent-crime levels and drug use), more-militarized law enforcement agencies were associated with more civilians killed each year by police. When a county goes from receiving no military equipment to $2,539,767 worth (the largest figure that went to one agency in our data), more than twice as many civilians are likely to die in that county the following year."

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California Supreme Court makes it harder for Three-Strikes Prisoners to get Sentence Reductions
"Judges have broad authority in refusing to lighten the sentences of 'three-strike' inmates, despite recent ballot measures aimed at reducing the state’s prison population, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In a 4-3 decision, the court said judges may freely decline to trim sentences for inmates who qualify for reductions under a 2012 ballot measure intended to reform the state’s tough three-strikes sentencing law.

Justice Leondra R. Kruger, an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, joined the more conservative justices to reach the result.

The decision aimed to resolve questions posed by two ballot measures in recent years to reduce the population of the state’s overburdened prison system."

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Behind the Curtain: The Illicit Trade of Firearms, Explosives and Ammunition on the Dark Web
"The potential role of the dark web in facilitating trade in firearms, ammunition and explosives has gained increased public attention following recent terrorist attacks in Europe. However, the hidden and obscure parts of the web are used also by criminals and other types of individuals to procure or sell a wide range of weapons and associated products through cryptomarkets and vendor shops.

While the use of these platforms as facilitators for illicit drug trade has been increasingly researched by a number of academics, little has been done to investigate the role of the dark web in relation to the illegal arms trade.

To address this gap, and with a view to supporting policy and decision makers, RAND Europe and the University of Manchester designed this research project to explore the worldwide illegal arms trade, with a focus on the role played by the dark web in fuelling and/or facilitating such trade....

The overall aim of the study was to estimate the size and scope of the trade in firearms and related products on cryptomarkets, including the number of dark web markets listing firearms and related products and services for sale, and the range and type of firearms and related products advertised and sold on cryptomarkets."

View the Report
 

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Doctors Raked in Cash to Push Fentanyl as N.J. Death Rate Exploded
"The most powerful opioid ever mass-marketed was designed to ease cancer patients into death.

It's ideal for that: the drug is fast acting, powerful enough to tame pain that other opioids can't and comes in a variety of easy delivery methods -- from patches to lollipops.

But a dose the size of a grain of sand can kill you.

Meet fentanyl. It's heroin on steroids. It's killing people in droves. And, in New Jersey, you can get it after having your tonsils removed.

In fact, doctors who treat children's colds and adult's sore knees are prescribing it with alarming frequency, far more than oncologists easing end-of-life cancer pain.

The surge is stoked by companies that shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to doctors, wining and dining them in hopes of convincing them that their particular brand of fentanyl is the solution to all their patients' pain problems."

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

How Body Cameras Affect Community Members' Perceptions of Police
"Members of the public often do not accurately remember whether police officers with whom they interact are wearing body worn cameras (BWC). Yet despite this poor recall, this randomized controlled trial of BWC use in a single jurisdiction finds that community members are more satisfied with police encounters when the officer is wearing a body camera. While application of procedurally just practices is associated with greater levels of resident satisfaction with police than just wearing a camera, combining the two produces even higher ratings of police. These findings suggest that policies on camera use may enhance the technology’s ability to improve interactions between police and the public."

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America's Complex Relationship with Guns: An In-Depth Look at the Attitudes and Experiences of U.S. Adults
"As a nation, the U.S. has a deep and enduring connection to guns. Integrated into the fabric of American society since the country’s earliest days, guns remain a point of pride for many Americans. Whether for hunting, sport shooting or personal protection, most gun owners count the right to bear arms as central to their freedom. At the same time, the results of gun-related violence have shaken the nation, and debates over gun policy remain sharply polarized.
 
A new Pew Research Center survey attempts to better understand the complex relationship Americans have with guns and how that relationship intersects with their policy views."

View the Complete Report
 

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The Impact of Organised Crime in Local Communities
"Organised crime is changing. Traditional forms of organised crime centred around drug dealing and serious acquisitive crime are being supplemented with 'new or emerging' crimes, such as modern slavery, child sexual exploitation and cyber fraud. It is now one of the government's main national priorities and new organisations at the national and regional level have been specifically set up to tackle it. However, the public view of organised crime is that while it is seen as a serious problem, it is not seen as a problem locally where they live. Since Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are required to reflect local concerns when deciding how to allocate their force's resources, organised crime therefore tends not to attract the resources it requires.

This study looks at the nature, scale and impact of organised crime on local communities. It focuses on the more hidden aspects of organised crime and how it impacts on vulnerable individuals and communities. It also looks at the modi operandi of organised crime groups (OCGs) and the local response to their offending."

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Step Back: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy from the Failed War on Terror
"In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States launched an international war on terrorism defined by military intervention, nation building, and efforts to reshape the politics of the Middle East. As of 2017, however, it has become clear that the American strategy has destabilized the Middle East while doing little to protect the United States from terrorism.

After 15 years of considerable strategic consistency during the presidencies of George Bush and Barack Obama, Donald Trump now takes the reins having promised to “bomb the sh—” out of ISIS and “defeat them fast.” At the same time, however, Trump broke sharply in his campaign rhetoric from Republican orthodoxy on Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever President Trump decides to do, an evaluation of the War on Terror should inform his policies.

We argue that the War on Terror failed. This failure has two fundamental—and related—sources. The first is the inflated assessment of the terror threat facing the United States, which led to an expansive counterterrorism campaign that did not protect Americans from terrorist attacks. The second source of failure is the adoption of an aggressive strategy of military intervention."

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There is now Proof the NSA Overindulges in Data Collection
"National security officials are continually reassuring Americans that their communications aren’t getting caught in massive dragnets, and that when it does happen, the communications are handled responsibly. But recently-released opinions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)—the seven-judge panel charged with oversight of National Security Agency (NSA) spying programs—show just the opposite is true. 

The heavily redacted documents, released on June 13 by the Department of Justice in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), show troubling abuses of surveillance powers granted under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act." 

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The Mental Health Crisis Facing Women in Prison
"More than two-thirds of incarcerated women in America reported having a history of mental health problems — a far higher percentage than their male counterparts, according to a study released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Although the prevalence of mental health disorders among people in prisons and jails is a well-known problem, the dramatic gender disparity exposed in the new report has been less discussed.

The survey, conducted from February 2011 to March 2012, asked more than 100,000 men and women in hundreds of U.S. jails and prisons whether they had ever been diagnosed by a mental health professional with a psychological disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety. The survey also posed questions about inmates’ mood and emotions in the previous 30 days.

Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition. About 19 percent experienced an episode of serious psychological distress in the month before being surveyed.

When the data is broken down by gender, the differences are stark."

View the Report
 

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Everyone is too Distracted to Stop Sharing Fake News, Study Shows
"Echo chambers, confirmation bias and ignorance. When explaining why fake news spreads on social media, we can be quick to blame the personal qualities of other people. But don’t be so hasty to point the finger at others for the popularity of false information on Facebook and Twitter. New research shows that everyone is prone to sharing less-than-truthful news when dealing with a never-ending stream of updates.

The scientists found that when the news cycle is packed to the brim, people will struggle to discriminate between fact-based stories and fake news on social media. This consequence is inherently built into how social media platforms work, according to the study published Monday in Nature Human Behavior, and may also explain popularity bias in modern journalism."

Study: Gunfire Kills or Injures more than 7,000 Children per Year
"About 19 U.S. children per day are killed by or receive emergency treatment for gunshot wounds, according to a new study from federal researchers.
Among injury-related deaths, firearms are the second leading cause behind car accidents for children ages 1-17.
'These are preventable injuries that have a major public health impact on early death and disability among children,' lead author Katherine A. Fowler, Ph.D., said in an email interview.
Dr. Fowler and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from national databases and published the findings in a new study, 'Childhood Firearm Injuries in the United States,' (Fowler KA, et al. Pediatrics. June 19, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-3486).
Dr. Fowler called the work 'the most comprehensive examination of current firearm-related deaths and injuries among children in the U.S. to date.'” 

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Screening of Police Charges could help Clear Crowded Courts, Study says
"Nearly half of all criminal charges in Ontario are withdrawn or tossed out before trial, a higher rate than anywhere else in Canada.

The finding comes in a new report that urges reform of the way charges are laid in the province, with the aim of relieving an overcrowded court system.

Using data from Statistics Canada, the study finds significantly heavier caseloads in the court systems of provinces such as Ontario — where police lay charges — versus British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick, where Crown attorneys screen charges before they are laid to decide whether there's a reasonable chance of conviction."

View the Report
 

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Perspectives on Policing: Mixed Signals for Police Improvement: The Value of your Crime Severity Score May Go Up as well as Down
"The development of a Crime Severity Score for England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics represents an important step towards a more sophisticated 'two-dimensional' understanding of police-recorded crime data. In this paper I start to unpick what it tells us about recent changes in the policing environment, point out its limitations as a tool for understanding crime change and flag-up some potential hazards in its usage, particularly as a tool for making judgements about 'performance'. I argue that its main value is to make central a set of 'severe' (high-tariff, high-harm, high-demand) abuse crime that are recorded in relatively low (but growing) numbers, and for which changes in the volume recorded by the police are a poor indicator of change in actual incidence. This rebalancing should force us to reconsider the meanings we attach to the ups and downs of police-recorded crime (whether weighted or otherwise) and to challenge the habit of seeing progress in reduction. Finally, I put forward suggestions for some non-traditional crime data division - such as between 'abuse' and 'reduce' crime, 'patent' and 'latent' demand crime and 'initial' and 'repeat' victim crime - that might prove useful for disambiguating aggregate Crime Severity Scores, and providing a more three-dimensional perspective on crime, police practice and on the relationships between the two."

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Can we Predict a Riot? Disruptive Event Detection Using Twitter
"In recent years, there has been increased interest in real-world event detection using publicly accessible data made available through Internet technology such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. In these highly interactive systems, the general public are able to post real-time reactions to 'real world' events, thereby acting as social sensors of terrestrial activity. Automatically detecting and categorizing events, particularly small-scale incidents, using streamed data is a non-trivial task but would be of high value to public safety organisations such as local police, who need to respond accordingly. To address this challenge, we present an end-to-end integrated event detection framework that comprises five main components: data collection, pre-processing, classification, online clustering, and summarization. The integration between classification and clustering enables events to be detected, as well as related smaller-scale 'disruptive events,' smaller incidents that threaten social safety and security or could disrupt social order. We present an evaluation of the effectiveness of detecting events using a variety of features derived from Twitter posts, namely temporal, spatial, and textual content. We evaluate our framework on a large-scale, real-world dataset from Twitter. Furthermore, we apply our event detection system to a large corpus of tweets posted during the August 2011 riots in England. We use ground-truth data based on intelligence gathered by the London Metropolitan Police Service, which provides a record of actual terrestrial events and incidents during the riots, and show that our system can perform as well as terrestrial sources, and even better in some cases."

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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 
 

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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)."
 

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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?"

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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."
 

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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
 

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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."

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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
 

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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."

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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
 

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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 
 

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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
 

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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.'”

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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
 

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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
 

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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
 

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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
 

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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."

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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
 

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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."

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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 

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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."

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