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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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