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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Changing the "Culture of Policing" - One Recruit at a Time
"A $950 million, eight-story state-of-the art police academy facility that looks like a college campus is the face of the dramatic 'culture change' the New York Police Department (NYPD) hopes to introduce to a new generation of recruits.

Completed in 2014, the building boasts a cafeteria, an 800-seat auditorium, a two-floor library, a 45,000-square foot gym and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The university resemblance is no accident.

'When you talk about training, environment matters,' said Tracie Keesee, who became the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Training in February, 2016.

Until recently, recruits to the nation’s largest police force squeezed into an overcrowded and outdated building in lower Manhattan.

Plans for the academy were approved during the era of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in 2007, but under prodding from Kelly’s successor,  William Bratton, New York’s City Council finally agreed to a major upgrade that included a move to the new 700,000 square foot facility in Queens, NY.

A key driver of the change was the growing concern about the interaction between police officers and New York’s diverse community. In July 2014, an African-American named Eric Garner was killed when a white police officer used a banned chokehold maneuver while attempting to arrest him outside a storefront in Staten Island.

His death, coupled with the video recording of his arrest, sparked public outcry, with many claiming that police  used unnecessary force. By the time the incident ended, four officers were involved in subduing and arresting Garner–one of whom was a black police sergeant.

Future-Proofing Justice: Building a Research Agenda to Address the Effects of Technological Change on the Protection of Constitutional Rights
"New technologies have changed the types of data that are routinely collected about citizens on a daily basis. For example, smart devices collect location and communication data, and fitness trackers and medical devices capture physiological and other data. As technology changes, new portable and connected devices have the potential to gather even more information. Such data have great potential utility in criminal justice proceedings, and they are already being used in case preparations, plea negotiations, and trials. But the broad expansion of technological capability also has the potential to stress approaches for ensuring that individuals' constitutional rights are protected through legal processes. In an effort to consider those implications, we convened a panel of criminal justice practitioners, legal scholars, and individuals from the civil liberties community to identify research and other needs to prepare the U.S. legal system both for technologies we are seeing today and for technologies we are likely to see in the future. Through structured brainstorming, the panel explored a wide range of potential issues regarding these technologies, from evidentiary and procedural concerns to questions about the technologies' accuracy and efficient use. Via a Delphi-based prioritization of the results, the panel crafted a research agenda — including best practice and training development, evaluation, and fundamental research efforts — to provide the criminal justice community with the knowledge and capabilities needed to address these important and complex technological questions going forward."

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The Jihadi Threat: ISIS, Al Qaeda and Beyond
"The West failed to predict the emergence of al-Qaeda in new forms across the  Middle East and North Africa. It was blindsided by the ISIS sweep across Syria and Iraq, which at least temporarily changed the map of the  Middle East. Both movements have skillfully continued to evolve and proliferate — and surprise. What’s next? Twenty experts from think tanks and universities across the United States explore the world’s deadliest movements, their strategies, the  future scenarios, and policy considerations. This report reflects their analysis and diverse views."

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