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."

Labels: ,

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

Labels:

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

Labels:

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."

Labels: ,

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."

Labels: , ,

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."

Labels: , ,

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

 

Labels: , ,

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."
 

Labels:

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
 

Labels: ,

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

 

Labels: ,

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
 

Labels: ,

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

Labels:

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
 

Labels: ,

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
 

Labels: