Friday, July 31, 2015

New Report: Economic Costs of Youth Disadvantage and High-Return Opportunities for Change
"A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers explores the barriers that disadvantaged youth face, particularly young men of color, and quantifies the enormous costs this poses to the U.S. economy. In particular, this report focuses on the significant disparities in education, exposure to the criminal justice system, and employment that persist between young men of color and other Americans.

The report highlights the economic costs of youth crime stating, 'The average annual cost of incarceration for a single juvenile is over $100,000—far more costly than the sticker price of tuition at the most expensive college in the country or a year of intensive mentoring. This suggests that government expenditures on crime could be redirected toward higher-return investments that generate larger benefits for the wider economy.'"

View the Report

 

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GPS Supervision in California: One Technology, Two Contrasting Goals
"Two NIJ-supported studies with very different results show that GPS technology may be used to help prevent crime in various ways.
Using sophisticated technology to control crime generally appeals to both the public and policymakers because it prompts visions of reduced crime and improved safety. GPS technology can track an offender's movements in real time and is designed to reduce crime by enhancing the likelihood that law enforcement will detect criminal behavior. For the public, this conveys the notion of a virtual prison, in which offenders are prohibited from engaging in any wrongdoing. Critics, on the other hand, maintain that the idea of pervasive and constant surveillance offers a false sense of security and does little to actually prevent crime; they often point to horrific crimes that have occurred while offenders were under GPS supervision.[1]
 
Despite the absence of solid evidence for either position, the potential benefits outweighed the criticism and spurred many communities across the country to invest in GPS supervision equipment in the mid-to-late 2000s. Among these were two California counties that initiated programs that were structurally similar but conceptually quite different...."

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Monday, July 27, 2015

UN  Human Rights Committee Slams Canada's Record on Women
"The UN human rights committee is accusing the Canadian government of failing to act on missing and murdered aboriginal women, violence against women generally, and numerous other matters, ranging from refugees to Bill C-51, the new anti-terror law.

The UN's first report card on Canada in 10 years was released Thursday, and measures whether the country has met its human rights obligations.

At least 26 human rights organizations, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Amnesty International Canada and Human Rights Watch, submitted their own separate reports to the 18-member independent committee on the various issues.

Overall, the report took exception to Canada's failure to set up a way to implement some of the committee's recommendations.

'It should take all necessary measures to establish mechanisms and appropriate procedures to give full effect to the committee's views so as to guarantee an effective remedy when there has been a violation of the covenant,' the report said."

View the Report


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Friday, July 24, 2015

Study: Fixing Up Vacant Buildings May Reduce Crime
"The rehabilitation of abandoned buildings may be associated with reductions in certain crime categories, according to a University of Pennsylvania study in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study focuses on a Philadelphia city ordinance passed in 2011 that called for building owners to fix the broken doors and windows of vacant buildings. Of the 2,356 buildings cited by city officials as in need of remediation, 29 percent were fixed up between January 2011 and April 2013, according to the study.

Researchers compared crime rates near remediated buildings to unmediated ones within half a mile. They found a significant decrease in both serious and nuisance crimes in areas near remediated buildings. In particular, gun assaults decreased by 39 percent near remediated buildings.

Assaults overall were reduced by 19 percent. So-called nuisance crimes, such as vandalism, public drunkenness and illegal dumping, dropped by 16 percent, according to the study.

Researchers noted that the ordinance impact varied from neighborhood to neighborhood."

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A Theory of Civil Disobedience
"From the streets of Hong Kong to Ferguson, Missouri, civil disobedience has again become newsworthy. What explains the prevalence and extremity of acts of civil disobedience? This paper presents a model in which protest planners choose the nature of the disturbance hoping to influence voters (or other decision-makers in less democratic regimes) both through the size of the unrest and by generating a response. The model suggests that protesters will either choose a mild 'epsilon' protest, such as a peaceful march, which serves mainly to signal the size of the disgruntled population, or a 'sweet spot' protest, which is painful enough to generate a response but not painful enough so that an aggressive response is universally applauded. Since non-epsilon protests serve primarily to signal the leaders’ type, they will occur either when protesters have private information about the leader’s type or when the distribution of voters’ preferences are convex in a way that leads the revelation of uncertainty to increase the probability of regime change. The requirements needed for rational civil disobedience seem not to hold in many world settings, and so we explore ways in which bounded rationality by protesters, voters, and incumbent leaders can also explain civil disobedience."

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New Working Paper Offers a "Transatlantic Perspective" on Capital Punishment
"How is it that most 'western' industrialized, democratic nations have succeeded in abolishing the death penalty, while executions continue to take place in 31 American states? That is the question underscoring a new Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper authored by Associate Professor Moshik Temkin.
'The Great Divergence: The Death Penalty in the United States and the Failure of Abolition in Transatlantic Perspective' provides an historical perspective on national-level efforts to eradicate capital punishment over the course of the past 100 years."

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Imprisonment in the U.S. in the Era of "Black Lives Matter":
A Summer Event at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

Thursday, August 13, 4 to 6:30 pm
2nd Floor Ericson Seminar Room, Canadian Gallery
14 Queen's Park Crescent West

Michelle Brown, from the University of Tennessee, editor of Crime, Media, and Culture, will give a talk on "the problem of life and death in American criminal justice", based on ethnographic and media analysis research on local and national community-based movements such as Black Lives Matter.  Her question is: "What does it mean to theorize mass incarceration through its counter-movements?"

Then, filmmaker and PhD candidate Brett Story will show an excerpt from her film-in-progress "The prison in twelve landscapes", described as "a non-fiction film about the prison from the places we least expect to find it: an anti-sex offender pocket park in LA, a congregation of ex-incarcerated chess players shut out of the formal labor market, the overnight buses that carry visitors to far-away prisons, and an Appalachian cola town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs."

Moderator: Phil Goodman

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Maltreatment of Youth in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities
This report, released as a follow-up to No Place For Kids, introduces new evidence on the widespread maltreatment of youth in state-funded juvenile corrections facilities. It tells of high rates of sexual victimization, the heavy-handed use of disciplinary isolation and a growing roster of states where confined youth have been subject to widespread abuse. The four-year update is in — and the news is not good.

View the Report

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Childhood Trauma and its Effects: Implications for Police
"For children, repeated exposure to violent trauma, particularly in the absence of parental nurture, support and protection that might mitigate the impact of such trauma, can have devastating effects on their psychiatric and neuropsychiatric development. This paper summarizes current understanding of the effects of ongoing trauma on young children, how these effects impair adolescent and young adult functioning, and the possible implications of this for policing.

The author argues that while children from any neighborhood can be exposed to violent trauma, children from poor communities of color are particularly at risk for such exposure. Because these communities are often the focus of police attention, it is important that police be aware of the high prevalence of severe childhood trauma in such communities, appreciate its effects on the developing child, and understand its impact on adolescent and adult functioning. With this knowledge, police officers have a greater capacity to help decrease the prevalence of this major public mental health problem."


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HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2014-2015
"Commenting on the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons annual report 2014-15, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
'No mystery that violence, self-harm and suicide rise when you overcrowd prisons, reduce staff by almost one third, cut time out of cell and purposeful activity. The backdrop is a more punitive climate, increased injustice and uncertainty which have sucked hope out of the system for prisoners and staff. Solutions lie in good strong leadership from the new Secretary of State through to prison governors, a commitment to treat people in prison with humanity and respect and a determination to make prison an effective place of last resort.'"

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The Impact of Drug Policy on Women
"Across the globe, the failure of the war on drugs has come at an enormous cost to women. Punitive drug laws and policies pose a heavy burden on women and, in turn, on the children for whom women are often the principal caregivers.
Prohibitionist policies impede access to and use of HIV and hepatitis C prevention and care services for everyone, but women and girls virtually always face a higher risk of transmission of these infections. Men suffer from unjust incarceration for minor drug offenses, but in some places women are more likely than men to face harsh sentences for minor infractions. Treatment for drug dependence is of poor quality in many places, but women are at especially high risk of undergoing inappropriate treatment or not receiving any treatment at all. All people who use drugs face stigma and discrimination, but women are often more likely than men to be severely vilified as unfit parents and 'fallen' members of society."
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History of Abuse Seen in Many Girls in Juvenile System
"As many as 80 percent of the girls in some states’ juvenile justice systems have a history of sexual or physical abuse, according to a report released Thursday. The report, a rare examination of their plight, recommends that girls who have been sexually trafficked no longer be arrested on prostitution charges.

The study, 'The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story,' found that sexual abuse was among the primary predictors of girls’ involvement with juvenile justice systems, but that the systems were ill-equipped to identify or treat the problem."

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