Friday, February 26, 2016

Big Data on the Beat: Predictive Policing has Arrived
"'Predictive policing used to be the future,' said career cop William Bratton, 'and now it is the present.' In mid-May 2015, Bratton—the visionary former chief of police in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and currently again top cop in New York—was talking about his early days as an officer in Boston, about what worked and what didn’t, and about what can work better in the future. That future will involve predictive policing, which Bratton is bringing to New York (a pilot program was launched last summer).

Predictive policing, which Bratton helped develop when he headed the Los Angeles Police Department during the 2000s, seeks not just to fight crime but to anticipate and prevent it. It uses cutting-edge technology and Big Data—some of which comes from past analysis and some of which is new, streaming in real time to an onboard computer in a patrol car—to identify high-risk areas, which precincts can then flood with police. The aim is not to make arrests but to deter crime before it occurs. Predictive policing relies crucially on community engagement—it can work only when the police are seen as part of the neighborhood, rather than as an occupying presence. At a time when police-community relations are frayed and many cities face rising violent-crime rates as well as renewed concern about terrorist threats, the approach may provide a better way forward."

Related Article:  Does Predictive Policing Lead to More Police in Black Communities?  Readers React
 

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Young Women in Prison Suffering from a Toxic Mix of Fear and Boredom, T2A Report Finds
"Prisons are failing to address the distinct needs of young women aged 18-24, including education and mental health needs, in the face of evidence that they should be treated differently to older women in custody. In the youth estate, teenage girls are viewed as having such specific needs that not one girl under 18 is held in a young offender institution, making the transition across to the women’s estate when they turn 18 particularly stark and risky.

Yet new research for the Transition to Adulthood (T2A) Alliance has found that all women over 18 are treated the same and mixed together. This is in contrast to young men, for whom there is separate legislation and distinct young adult establishments.

Despite some efforts made in individual institutions to meet the needs of this age group, the report finds that prison regimes do not sufficiently follow the Prison Service Order to provide younger women prisoners more supervision and activities. Recent inspection reports of women’s prisons have consistently highlighted a lack of strategy and service for young adults, with not one young women-specific accredited programmes available in the estate. A lack of progress in prison education was highlighted as a particular concern. The report calls for a strengthening of existing guidance and staff recruitment to enable effective, distinct management of young adult women in prison, and the introduction of a presumption against short prison sentences for non-violent crimes."

View the Report

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Friday, February 19, 2016

When Robots Commit Crime, Who Should Be Charged?
"Once the stuff of science fiction, cars driven by robots could soon become a reality—but what happens when one of these cars is involved in an accident? In a study titled, 'If Robots Cause Harm, Who Is to Blame? Self-Driving Cars and Criminal Liability,' forthcoming in New Criminal Law Review, researchers consider whether individuals who program and operate the robots should bear the responsibility for injuries, damages or loss of human life caused by the machines.

'If robots cannot be punished, under what conditions should humans be held criminally responsible for producing, programming, or using intelligent machines that cause harm?' write Sabine Gless, Emily Silverman and Thomas Weigend. 'Take, for example, a self-driving car that runs over a small child because its environment-scanning sensors misinterpreted its surroundings and failed to identify the child as a human being.'

The authors note that while private (civil) law allows 'entities other than natural persons' to be held liable for damages, 'acts' of non-human agents are difficult to accommodate in criminal law.  And since there is no international criminal law governing robots, countries must come up with solutions based on their own general rules and principles."

View the Complete Study

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Access to Safety: Health Outcomes, Substance Use and Abuse, and Service Provision for LGBTQ Youth, YMSM AND YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex
"This report focuses on LGBTQ youth who become involved in the commercial sex market to meet basic survival needs, describing their physical, mental, and sexual health issues, their substance use, and their experiences with service providers. It finds that most youth protect themselves from harm in several ways, including using protection against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy and visiting service providers for health and nonhealth services. However, most of the youth reported needs that were unmet by service providers, including employment assistance and short- and long-term housing, and youth who reached ages 18 or 21 had even greater challenges accessing services."

View the Full Report

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A Few Keystrokes Could Solve the Crime. Would You Press Enter?
"Suppose a laptop were found at the apartment of one of the perpetrators of last year’s Paris attacks. It’s searched by the authorities pursuant to a warrant, and they find a file on the laptop that’s a set of instructions for carrying out the attacks.

The discovery would surely help in the prosecution of the laptop’s owner, tying him to the crime. But a junior prosecutor has a further idea. The private document was likely shared among other conspirators, some of whom are still on the run or unknown entirely....

A list of users with the document would spark further investigation of those accounts to help identify whether their owners had a role in the attacks — all according to the law, with a round of warrants obtained from the probable cause arising from possessing the suspect document....

But is this search...a good idea? And would it be, in the United States, constitutional?"

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How does the Gun Industry Live with Itself? The Psychology behind Inhumanity
"The gun industry attributes the blame for the escalating lethality of its firearms to public demand. Recall Olberg’s explanation of why Smith & Wesson was selling small lethal pistols that are easy to conceal: 'I sell the guns that the market is demanding' (Albright, Alexander, Arvidson, & Eason, 1981). As we have seen, innovative lethality was driven by sagging gun sales and the battle among gun makers for the small-gun market, not by consumer demand.

Another form of moral evasion by selective attribution of blame is to disembody the gun from the shooter in a false dichotomy that places the blame entirely on the shooter. This is apparent in the NRA’s exonerative causal slogan 'Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.' Removal of the gun from the mix of causal factors absolves guns—and by extension their manufacturers—of any role in gun violence. This causal detachment is analogous to claiming that it is people, not carcinogenic cigarettes, that are a major determinant of lung cancer. Human agency is executed through means. The gun toter is the agent. The gun industry provides lethal means to achieve desired ends."

Excerpted from "Moral Disengagement: How People Do Harm and Live With Themselves"

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Friday, February 5, 2016

"In this paper, we urge that Canada’s reformed national security accountability review structure be built on the model of a three-legged stool: first, a properly resourced and empowered committee of parliamentarians with robust access to secret information, charged primarily with strategic issues, including an emphasis on 'efficacy' review; second, a consolidated and enhanced expert review body – a 'super SIRC' – with all-of-government jurisdiction, capable of raising efficacy issues but charged primarily with 'propriety' review; third, an independent monitor of national security law, built on the UK and Australian model, with robust access to secret information and charged with expert analysis of Canada’s proposed or actual anti terrorism and national security legislation. The paper includes draft legislation accomplishing these objectives."

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Out on the Inside: The Rights, Experiences and Needs of LGBT People in Prison
"IPRT [Irish Penal Reform Trust] launched a new report on the rights, needs and experiences of LGBT people in prison in Ireland on Tuesday 2nd February 2016....

LGBT prisoners and ex-prisoners are described as a 'doubly-marginalised' group - both in LGBT service provision on the outside, and in prison policy and practice on the inside. The report is the first in-depth study on the experiences of LGBT people in prison in Ireland, and includes first-hand testimony of LGBT people in prison, alongside a wider review of the prison and policy context."

 View the Report

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Dangerous Associations: Joint Enterprise, Gangs and Racism
This study examines the processes of criminalisation that contribute to unequal outcomes for young Black, Asian and Minority ethnic people. It has been written by Patrick Williams and Becky Clarke of Manchester Metropolitan University.
The research draws on a survey of nearly 250 serving prisoners convicted under joint enterprise provisions. It tracks the complex process of criminalisation through which black and minority ethnic people are unfairly identified by the police as members of dangerous gangs.
More than three-quarters of the black and minority ethnic prisoners reported that the prosecution claimed that they were members of a ‘gang’, compared to only 39 percent of white prisoners. This apparent ‘gang’ affiliation’ is used to secure convictions, under joint enterprise provisions, for offences they have not committed.
The report also discusses police gang databases in Manchester, London and Nottingham, which claim to record gang association. These lists include people who ‘have no proven convictions and… those who have been assessed by criminal justice professionals as posing minimal risk’. They are also dominated by black and minority ethnic people, as a result of racial stereotyping.
- See more at: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/publications/dangerous-associations-joint-enterprise-gangs-and-racism#sthash.8UYsSg0H.dpuf

"This study examines the processes of criminalisation that contribute to unequal outcomes for young Black, Asian and Minority ethnic people. It has been written by Patrick Williams and Becky Clarke of Manchester Metropolitan University.


The research draws on a survey of nearly 250 serving prisoners convicted under joint enterprise provisions. It tracks the complex process of criminalisation through which black and minority ethnic people are unfairly identified by the police as members of dangerous gangs.

More than three-quarters of the black and minority ethnic prisoners reported that the prosecution claimed that they were members of a ‘gang’, compared to only 39 percent of white prisoners. This apparent ‘gang’ affiliation’ is used to secure convictions, under joint enterprise provisions, for offences they have not committed.

The report also discusses police gang databases in Manchester, London and Nottingham, which claim to record gang association. These lists include people who ‘have no proven convictions and… those who have been assessed by criminal justice professionals as posing minimal risk’. They are also dominated by black and minority ethnic people, as a result of racial stereotyping."

View the Report 

 

This study examines the processes of criminalisation that contribute to unequal outcomes for young Black, Asian and Minority ethnic people. It has been written by Patrick Williams and Becky Clarke of Manchester Metropolitan University.
The research draws on a survey of nearly 250 serving prisoners convicted under joint enterprise provisions. It tracks the complex process of criminalisation through which black and minority ethnic people are unfairly identified by the police as members of dangerous gangs.
More than three-quarters of the black and minority ethnic prisoners reported that the prosecution claimed that they were members of a ‘gang’, compared to only 39 percent of white prisoners. This apparent ‘gang’ affiliation’ is used to secure convictions, under joint enterprise provisions, for offences they have not committed.
The report also discusses police gang databases in Manchester, London and Nottingham, which claim to record gang association. These lists include people who ‘have no proven convictions and… those who have been assessed by criminal justice professionals as posing minimal risk’. They are also dominated by black and minority ethnic people, as a result of racial stereotyping.
- See more at: http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/publications/dangerous-associations-joint-enterprise-gangs-and-racism#sthash.8UYsSg0H.dpuf

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