Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Oklahoma to Install High-Speed Cameras to Catch the Uninsured
Government Technology, (11/21/2017), Scott Berson
In 2018, Oklahoma will begin using traffic cameras to scan drivers’ license plates and send tickets to those who do not have insurance. Drivers will face a $184 fine, and if they do not pay, they face possible prosecution. An estimated 25 percent of Oklahoma drivers do not have insurance.
Surveillance Cameras in Bars, Homes Could Feed Into New Orleans Crime Monitoring Center, (11/21/2017), Alex Woodward
New Orleans has a new Real Time Crime Monitoring Center, with plans to include feeds from surveillance cameras owned by businesses and residents along with video from city-owned surveillance devices. The center will primarily be staffed by civilian employees, and is part of a multi-million project to decrease crime rates in the city.
All’s Quiet So Far With City’s New Alert System
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, (11/28/2017), Matt Dotray
The LBKAlert system launched a few weeks ago, but so far the Lubbock Police Department has not elected to use it for any public safety event. A department spokesman says that the system is intended for use in times when there is a need for a citywide alert, and the department will err on the side of caution in using it.
Dayton’s New Traffic Weapon: A Speed Gun That Can Cite You With No Stop
Dayton Daily News, (11/28/2017), Cornelius Frolik
In October 2017, the police department in Dayton, Ohio, began using DragonEye Speed Lidar devices, which allow officers to take photos of speeding vehicles, thus enabling them to issues citations without making a traffic stop. Unlike stationary speed cameras, these devices can be deployed anywhere in the city.

Corrections News

Mecklenburg Jail Visits Are Now Solely by Video. Critics Say That Hurts Inmates, Families., (11/21/2017), Charlotte Observer Staff
A growing number of North Carolina jails, including the one in Mecklenburg County, have ended in-person visits in favor of video-only visitation. Research indicates that inmates who receive visits and remain connected with family and friends are less likely to reoffend, and that in-person visits return greater results than do video-only visits.
Informed Decision-making Belongs in the Justice System
Des Moines Register, (11/21/2017), Lettie Prell, contributor
This opinion piece, written by a retired research director with the Iowa Department of Corrections, takes a stand against the recent backlash against using risk assessments in determining sentencing and setting bond.
Drones Are Caught Flying Drugs or Mobile Phones Into Jail Every Five Days: Specialist Squad Has Seized 120 Devices Since the Start of 2016 and Convicted 17 People
Daily Mail, (11/21/2017), Ian Drury
In the United Kingdom, a new specialist squad established in January 2016 has recovered 120 drones used in attempts to smuggle contraband into the nation’s jails. The team’s efforts have led to the conviction of 17 individuals.
New AEI Report Suggests Reforms to Curb Recidivism
Correctional News, (11/20/2017), Daedalus Howell
The American Enterprise Institute recently released “Rethinking Prison: A Strategy for Evidence-Based Reform,” a 37-page report in which the author calls for reforms aimed at reducing recidivism rates. The report calls for an increase in instructional programs, a reduction in the number of prisoners and increased use of risk assessments.
‘Mass Exodus’ of Texas Prison Guards Leaves Some Units Understaffed
Houston Chronicle, (11/15/2017), Keri Blakinger
The Texas correctional system faced a 28-percent turnover rate in the past fiscal year, which some experts attribute to a recovering oil and gas sector. In times of economic prosperity, individuals often leave corrections jobs for other positions that offer better pay. The system presently has a 12-percent job vacancy rate.
Bail ‘Disrupters’ Have a Plan to Free Thousands From U.S. Jails
NBC Nightly News, (11/23/2017), Hannah Rappleye and Brenda Breslauer
Late in November, criminal justice reformers launched The Bail Project, a plan to use charitable donations to bail people who cannot afford to pay bond out of jail. Backed by $30 million in donations, the group plans to establish a revolving fund to keep more than 160,000 low-income individuals out of jail while awaiting trial for minor offenses.
UNO Researchers to Study Correctional Officers’ Stress, Mental Health
KIOS, (11/22/2017), Cheril Lee
Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Omaha plan to look for a possible link between correctional officers’ exposure to stressful experiences and subsequent development of long-term mental and physical health issues. In addition to collecting data, the researchers will also take saliva samples to obtain physical evidence of officers’ exposure to stress.
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