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Showing posts from September, 2019

Survey: Police Forces Face Hiring and Retention Crisis

"Police agencies across America are having difficulty keeping and hiring police officers,  according to a new survey produced by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

'The policing profession is facing a workforce crisis,' according to the survey, titled The Workforce Crisis, and What Police Agencies Are Doing About It.  Fewer people are applying to become police officers, and more people are leaving the profession, often after only a few years on the job. These trends are occurring even as many police and sheriffs’ offices are already short-staffed and facing
ABC News reported, 'The surveys shows a ‘triple threat’ for police departments: there is a decrease in applications, early exits and higher rates of retirement.'

Agencies participating in the survey reported that there has been a 63 percent decrease in applying to become a police officer. Departments are also having trouble hiring non-white/minority applicants the most, followed by female offic…

Predictive Policing Poses Discrimination Risk Think Tank Warns, but AI shouldn't be Dismissed

"The use of data analytics and machine learning in policing has plenty of potential benefits, but it also presents a significant risk of unfair discrimination, security think tank Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) has warned.

A new report,Data Analytics and Algorithmic Bias in Policing, outlines the various ways that analytics and algorithms are used by police forces across the United Kingdom. 

This includes the use of facial recognition technology, mobile data extraction, social media analysis, predictive crime mapping, and individual risk assessment. The report focuses on the latter two and the risks they pose, given the predictive nature of these uses.

The study notes that if bias finds is way into these technologies, it could lead to discrimination against protected characteristics such as race, sexuality or age. This is a result of human bias in the data used to train these systems." 

Prosecutors, Democracy, and Justice: Holding Prosecutors Responsible

"As the nation grapples with fundamental questions about the nature of our democracy, advocates for criminal justice reform see hope in the nascent focus on one of the most powerful stakeholders in the legal system: the prosecutor.i1Across the country, prosecutor campaigns have shifted from debates over conviction rates and sentence lengths to candidates vying to show their commitment to ending mass incarceration and ameliorating other harms associated with the criminal justice system. While 85 percent of incumbent prosecutors ran unopposed between 1996 and 2006, and 95 percent of elected prosecutors were white in 2015, recent elections saw unprecedented electoral competition and diversity in prosecutor races across the country. As reform-minded prosecutors3 are elected in growing numbers, communities are holding them to account on their campaign promises to bring about deep criminal justice reforms. At the core of this new era of prosec…

Spike in California Handgun Sales Linked to Increase in Firearms Injuries

"In the weeks following President Barack Obama’s re-election and the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, Californians rushed to stock up on handguns.

Over the next year, firearm injuries in the state increased, according to a study released by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.

The study, the first to track the correlation between handgun purchases and firearm-related harm, showed that  gun injuries rose by 4 percent following a 55 percent increase in handgun sales.

The authors of the report, published in Injury Epidemiology, carefully hedged their findings to avoid drawing a direct cause-and-effect relationship. But they point out that, the number of guns purchased—36,142—above the normal pattern was associated with a greater risk of harm."

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Link to Full Text article

A Community-Based Report on Alberta's Supervised Consumption Service Effectiveness

"Alberta has six approved community-based SCS facilities operational in Calgary, Edmonton (three sites), Grande Prairie, and Lethbridge.1 The model used in each SCS organization is a supervised consumption and treatment-based approach....

Since 2016, 2,183 people have died in Alberta from opioids, with the vast majority (86%) now due to accidental fentanyl poisonings. The cost and burden of the opioid crisis on Alberta’s health care system is extensive, with huge impacts on Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responses and Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. SCS provides a cost-effective way for people who use drugs to improve their quality of life and reduce the burden on EMS and ED. 

The recent 24% decline in fentanyl deaths in Alberta suggests that the harm reduction strategies are working, and their continued expansion into communities of need is a priority." 

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10 Most Censored Countries

"Repressive governments use sophisticated digital censorship and surveillance alongside more traditional methods to silence independent media.

Eritrea is the world's most censored country, according to a list compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The list is based on CPJ's research into the use of tactics ranging from imprisonment and repressive laws to surveillance of journalists and restrictions on internet and social media access.

Under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to seek and receive news and express opinions. These 10 countries flout the international standard by banning or severely restricting independent media and intimidating journalists into silence with imprisonment, digital and physical surveillance, and other forms of harassment. Self-censorship is pervasive."

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DOJ Survey: Violent Crime Now on the Rise

"The general trend of violent crimes committed in the U.S. has been steadily declining since the 1990s, but that crime rate appears to have reversed in recent years, based on findings released Tuesday from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)....

This Bureau of Justice Statistics’ report differs from the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR), considering the fact that the NCVS looks at non-fatal reported crimes and self-reported surveys, whereas the FBI’s UCR collects data solely from police databases....

NCVS argues that this stark increase in the rate of violent victimizations, 'was largely due to crimes that were not reported to police....'

Researchers found that 'From 2015 to 2018, the rate of violent victimizations that went unreported to police rose from 9.5 to 12.9 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older, while the rate of violent victimizations that were reported to police showed no statistically significant cha…

The Future of Fentanyl and other Synthetic Opioids

"Deaths involving synthetic opioids in the United States increased from roughly 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018. In fact, synthetic opioids like fentanyl are now involved in twice as many deaths as heroin. This book offers a systematic assessment of the past, present, and possible futures of synthetic opioids in the United States. It is rooted in secondary data analysis, literature reviews, international case studies, and key informant interviews. The goal is to provide decisionmakers, researchers, media outlets, and the public with insights intended to improve their understanding of the synthetic opioid problem and how to respond to it.

The authors conclude that (1) fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are becoming dominant in some parts of the United States and Canada, but remain less common in other parts of these countries; (2) a confluence of factors, including the dissemination of simplified and novel synthesis methods and increasing e-commerce, helps…

The First Alleged Crime Committed in Space Raises Questions about Jurisdiction in Orbit

"NASA is currently investigating what could be considered the first crime perpetrated in space, after one of the agency’s astronauts was accused of illegally accessing her wife’s bank account during her stay on the International Space Station. Investigators have yet to decide if the event actually constitutes a crime, but this case does raise questions about how we should handle criminal activity in space in the future."

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Arrest, Release, Repeat: How Police and Jails are Misused to Respond to Social Problems

"Police and jails are supposed to promote public safety. Increasingly, however, law enforcement is called upon to respond punitively to medical and economic problems unrelated to public safety issues. As a result, local jails are filled with people who need medical care and social services, many of whom cycle in and out of jail without ever receiving the help they need. Conversations about this problem are becoming more frequent, but until now, these conversations have been missing three fundamental data points: how many people go to jail each year, how many return, and which underlying problems fuel this cycle.

In this report, we fill this troubling data gap with a new analysis of a federal survey, finding that at least 4.9 million people are arrested and jailed each year, and at least one in 4 of those individuals are booked into jail more than once during the same year. Our analysis shows that repeated arrests are related to race and poverty, as well as high rates of…