Friday, January 26, 2018

Punishing Police Won't Curb Officer-Involved Shootings: Study
"If cops charged with fatal shootings rarely get convicted, is there a better way of dealing with such incidents before they happen? According to a study published this month in the Annual Review of Criminology, there is.

Despite efforts to hold police accountable for their actions in a flurry of court cases since the controversial 2014 Ferguson, Mo. shooting of Michael Brown, there is little evidence to show that such legal efforts to “blame” individual officers are effective, writes Lawrence W. Sherman of Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology.

Instead, he argues, 'there is far greater evidence that fatal police shootings can be reduced by re-engineering policy systems than by trying (with little chance of success) to change the legal immunity of police officers or the behavior of juries.'”

View the Study
 

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Caring for Those in Custody: Identifying High-Priority Needs to Reduce Mortality in Correctional Facilities
"Correctional facilities are responsible for the care, custody, and control of individuals who are detained while awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. The true scope of this mission is much broader than simply protecting the public from those accused or convicted of criminal acts by keeping these individuals behind bars. These facilities also have a constitutional obligation to provide for the health and well-being of those under their charge. Administrators are responsible for not only developing and implementing strategies to prevent violence among the inmate population and inmate self-harm, but also for providing general health care through medical and mental health services....

While some level of in-custody deaths are inevitable — for example, the passing of elderly inmates from old age — certain types of mortality are highly preventable with the proper interventions. This effort convened a panel of prison and jail administrators, researchers, and health care professionals to consider the challenges related to inmate mortality in correctional facilities and opportunities for improved outcomes. Through structured brainstorming and prioritization of the results, the panel identified a series of needs that, if addressed, could significantly reduce inmate mortality rates."

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From Crime Fighting to Public Protection: The Shaping of Police Officers' Sense of Role
"New research... has followed a sample of new recruits to the police service through the first four years of their careers and considered how and in what ways, they adapt to their new identity as a police officer. Police officers were interviewed after the first five weeks in the job (TIME A), after six months (TIME B), after one year (TIME C) and after four years (TIME D). This rich source of data has revealed significant change over time in the new recruits’ attitudes and beliefs. A central focus of the research was on officers’ changing attitudes during the early years of their careers and the key influences upon the formation and development of those attitudes. Part of that analysis was a consideration of what the new recruits saw as their role as a police officer."

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How Childhood Trauma Adversely Affects Decision-Making
"Punishment—or the threat of it—is generally considered an effective way to shape human behavior; it is, after all, the foundation of our criminal justice system. But what if there's a subset of the population for whom this paradigm simply doesn't apply? New research suggests that there is such a group: survivors of childhood trauma.

University of Wisconsin–Madison psychology professor Seth Pollak worked with over 50 people around the age of 20, and found that those who had experienced extreme stress as kids were hampered in their ability to make good decisions as adults. Simply put, childhood trauma—due to circumstances like neglect or exposure to violence—created young adults fundamentally unable to correctly consider risk and make healthy life decisions—and no threat of punishment was likely to be effective in changing this deficit. For cities where fears of juvenile violence have transfixed residents and flummoxed city leaders, Pollak's results suggest that demands for stiffer sentences on youthful offenders are likely to be counterproductive."

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TVO: Refugee Deportation
Over the past couple of months the Trump administration has announced the cancellation of the U.S. Temporary Protected Status program for Haiti and El Salvador. This could mean the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of people who escaped disasters in their home countries. With some of those people likely to consider settling in Canada, The Agenda looks at how this country should respond to the changing situation south of the border.

Centre Director Audrey Macklin participated as a panelist in this discussion

  

Costs and Unintended Consequences of Drug Control Policies
"This publication brings together the findings of [a] wider study conducted by the Pompidou Group in cooperation with the EMCDDA [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction]  seeking to identify the unintended effects and associated costs of drug control policies. The aim of this publication is threefold. First, increase international awareness about the importance of estimating public expenditure on supply reduction initiatives. Second, stress the importance of harmonizing definitions and increasing availability, comparability and reliability of data as well as methods for sound estimates. Third, contribute to developing sound estimation practices to obtain accurate, complete and reliable drug policy evaluations."

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How Gang Policing is Criminalizing Whole Communities
“'Ceasefire' has been marketed as a more humane and precise form of law enforcement, but is now being used to hold large groups of people responsible for the conduct of a few. The result is a program that sounds progressive on its face, but has been used repeatedly in a form that focuses solely on its most carcercal aspects....

'Operation Ceasefire,' also known simply as 'Ceasefire,' was developed by a Boston-based criminologist named David Kennedy in the early 1990s. According to Kennedy, because crime “does not occur evenly” across a city, neither should policing. The first part of Kennedy’s model involves mapping out crime data, encouraging police to focus on violent parts of every city—almost always low-income communities of color. The theory went that, to help reduce gun violence in these mapped areas, police would reach out directly to groups of individuals considered 'at risk' and offer them social services as an alternative to incarceration....

But Kennedy’s model isn’t the clear success that its adherents claim it to be. In almost every iteration, Operation Ceasefire has failed to meaningfully reduce violence. And its emphasis on large-scale gang indictments, which work to criminalize entire social networks, risks incarcerating large numbers of young people, despite Kennedy’s claims that his method focuses on deterrence and mobilizing communities against violence."

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Keep Police Use of Big Data to "Acceptable Boundaries," Says Study
"Despite evidence that state and federal law enforcement agencies have contracted with data analytics firms to mine information from social media users, policymakers have still not moved to protect Americans’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech and association from the misuse of 'Big Data,' according to an expert on information and privacy law.

The revelations underline the need for new approaches to transparency in order to ensure that police use of Big Data remains within 'acceptable boundaries,' Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, wrote in a paper posted in Scripted."

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Shot by Cops and Forgotten: Police Shoot Far More People than Anyone Realized, a Vice Investigation Reveals
"An exclusive analysis of data from the 50 largest local police departments in the United States shows that police shoot Americans more than twice as often as previously known....

VICE News examined both fatal and nonfatal incidents to determine that cops in the 50 largest local departments shot at least 3,649 people from 2010 through 2016. That’s more than 500 people a year. On more than 700 other occasions, police fired at citizens and missed. Two-thirds of the people cops fired at survived."

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