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Showing posts from July, 2019

State of the Criminal Justice System

"The Department of Justice Canada has created the first performance monitoring framework for Canada’s criminal justice system. It comprises broad expected outcomes, measured by selected national indicators. The Framework is based on extensive research and feedback from multi-phased consultations with criminal justice system partners, stakeholders, experts and other Canadians. The Department took on this work as part of its commitment to review the criminal justice system and as part of its broader efforts to identify and address data gaps that hinder evidence-based decision making. The Framework is presented through a State of the Criminal Justice System Report..."

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Reconsider "Violent Offender" Label, Panel Told

"Our criminal justice system’s treatment of those who have committed violent acts needs to change, said panelists Thursday at a presentation of two new papers by the Square One Project and the Emerging Adult Justice Learning Community.

The papers “Reconsidering the Violent Offender,” by the Square One Project and “Thinking About Emerging Adults and Violent Crime,” by the Emerging Adult Justice Learning Community provide research and recommendations about combatting violence and treating those with violent charges.

“The number one factor propping these systems up now is how we detain and sentence people we call violent offenders,” said Jim Austin, one of the authors of the Square One Project’s Paper. “We have to do something about the way we do this if we want to have any hope of lowering mass incarceration.”

Many individuals are labeled as violent offenders who are not actually violent, such as Sandra Bland, who was charged for with assault for kicking an officer, Au…

Sex Offender Recidivism Lower than for other Released Prisoners: BJS Study

"Released sex-offenders are less likely to be rearrested than other released prisoners, according to new data released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

But sex offenders who do return to prison are more likely to be guilty of another rape or sex-related crime than others who recidivate, the data show.

The study, titled “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14),” followed prisoners throughout the nine years after their release in 2005, comparing prisoners whose most serious offense was rape or sexual assault to other prisoners....

The BJS found that released sex offenders were over three times as likely to be re-arrested for rape and sexual assault than other released prisoners....

However, sex offenders were less likely to be arrested in general....

The study said the statistics are consistent with findings from a 2003 BJS analysis, which examined another sample of sex offenders following their release from …

Big Data and Criminal Justice - What Canadians Should Know

"On its surface, the term ‘big data’ refers both to very large data sets, as well as the tools used to manipulate and analyze them. This concept, however, does not just refer to the harvested information – it also refers to the motivations behind what harvesting that information is supposed to achieve. When data is collected en masse, and algorithms (a series of instructions that tell a computer what to do) cross reference data both within and between datasets, the computational software processing the data identifies patterns within them. It is this notion of “identifying patterns” that serves
as the backbone of predictive justice.

Predictive justice uses data on past occurrences or behaviours to make decisions about the future, such as who and where will be policed, how an individual should be sentenced given the risk they pose to others, and when someone should be released from prison....

Unfortunately, there has been a lack of both awareness and scholarship regarding how this…

Crime Up, Homicide Down: Five Things to Know about the 2018 Crime Statistics

"New national crime data for 2018 was released Monday, courtesy of Statistics Canada, with big changes to some key indicators. Here are five things that stood out:
Crime Up, but Still Near Decades-Long Law Less Homicide, but Provinces May VarySexual Assault is Up, and More Left UnreportedHate Crimes Down from 2017 PeakMore Fraud, More ExtortionRead on...

Link to Complete Juristat Report

What Doesn't Kill Us...

"In the face of a crisis or calamity people 'reconsolidate and rebuild' rather than descend into chaos.

An example of this is the Blitz and the Dresden Bombings of World War 11. In both cases the communities didn't crumble, instead they came together and helped each other survive.

However, as we've learned to better control man made and natural disasters our need to unite has diminished, and as [Centre alumnus] Vincent Harinam and Rob Henderson argue, 'one consequence of this is outrage culture'.

They continue, 'In the absence of legitimate calamities, we create artificial ones. Outrage culture is simply the calamitisation of the mundane. It is a process by which group solidarity can be lazily achieved by combatting non-existent crises. Whether it’s an actor fabricating a hate crime, journalists inflating the menace of a boy in a hat, or academics creating black lists, our outrage satisfies a deep desire to unite in overcoming a common t…

Memo to Prosecutors: Crime Victims Are Your Responsibility, Too

"
Legendary Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, who died this weekend at 99, would often tell his assistant prosecutors: “Every case matters to the victim.” As far back as 1935, the Supreme Court enshrined the same point in a phrase that still resonates today.

The twofold aim of prosecution, the Court said in Berger v United States, was that 'guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.'

The current criminal justice reform movement has, rightly, focused largely on the unmet needs of people charged with crimes, and on prosecutors’ role in addressing these challenges. However, this should not distract attention from the other fundamental work of prosecutors’ offices, as both Morgenthau and the Court made clear: to care for community members who have been victimized....

As a recent paper from the Institute of Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College of Criminal Justice argues, greater justice for crime victims requires reimagining the role of a p…

Want to Cut Back on the Prison Population? Start by Tackling Probation Reform

"President Trump recently noted the 3,000 individuals who will be released from prison next month thanks to the landmark First Step Act. Yet each day, we are sending 95,000 more people to prison in their place. We are sending them there not because they have committed new crimes, but because they have violated conditions of parole and probation. Adam Gelb, director of the Council on Criminal Justice, rightly calls this the “dirty little secret” of the criminal justice system in the United States.

Indeed, new research by the Council of State Governments shows that a quarter of all state prison admissions are due to minor technical violations of conditions of probation, an alternative to prison time, and parole, the release of an individual from prison before their sentence is complete. While on probation or parole, individuals are placed under community supervision and presented with a list of conditions to follow. Technical violations of these conditions can includ…

How Confirmation Bias Sends Innocent People to Prison

"A new study of wrongful convictions shows the problem goes beyond misconduct by police and prosecutors.

Last week an Oklahoma judge freed Corey Atchison, who had spent 28 years in prison for a murder he has always said he did not commit, after concluding that he had been convicted based on the false testimony of 'purported eyewitnesses' who had been 'coerced' by prosecutors. The next day, an Idaho judge exonerated Christopher Tapp, who had served more than two decades for rape and murder, after DNA evidence implicated another man, who confessed to the crimes.

While cases like these often feature wrongdoing by individual prosecutors and police officers, a new study suggests the problem is deeper. After analyzing 50 wrongful convictions and other investigative failures, Texas State criminologists Kim Rossmo and Joycelyn Pollock found that confirmation bias, reinforced by groupthink and strong incentives to quickly identify the perpetrators of highly pub…