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The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment

April 20, 2015 Comments off

The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment
Source: Amnesty International

Law enforcement agencies around the world regularly misuse so-called “less-lethal” weapons and equipment for torture and their use can also have deadly consequences, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation said as they launched a new briefing at the United Nations Crime Congress in Doha, Qatar.

The Human Rights Impact of Less Lethal Weapons and Other Law Enforcement Equipment details the medical and other risks associated with a wide range of weaponry and equipment used in policing, including crowd control during demonstrations, as well as in prisons. And it recommends stricter controls or, in some cases, bans to stem future abuses.

Amnesty International and Omega acknowledge the importance of developing less-lethal weapons, equipment and technologies, to reduce the risk of death or injury inherent in police use of firearms and other existing weapons.

When used responsibly by well-trained and fully accountable law enforcement officials, less-lethal weapons can prevent and minimize deaths and injuries to assailants, suspects and detainees, as well as protect the police and prison officers themselves.

But such equipment can have damaging and even deadly effects if it is not used in compliance with international human rights law and standards.

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement
Source: Urban Institute

Boys and young men of color are overrepresented in all aspects of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, at considerable cost to those involved, their families, and their communities. This overrepresentation is most acute for African Americans, although other communities of color are also affected. This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.

The World’s Love Affair with the TV May Be Coming to an End, Accenture Report Finds

April 20, 2015 Comments off

The World’s Love Affair with the TV May Be Coming to an End, Accenture Report Finds
Source: Accenture

The television’s popularity as the go-to entertainment device may be ending, according to “Digital Video and the Connected Consumer,” a new research report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The television was the only product category to see uniform, double-digit usage declines across different types of media worldwide among viewers of nearly all ages. It is rapidly being replaced as consumers turn to a combination of laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones to view video content.

The report, developed for communications, media and technology companies, found that video consumption – anytime, anywhere – has become mainstream, accelerating the decline of traditional TV viewing. Viewership for long form video content, such as movies and television on a TV screen, has declined by 13 percent globally over the past year and by 11 percent in the United States. Similarly, the report found sports viewership on TV screens declined by 10 percent globally and nine percent in the United States.

Nearly all age brackets reported double-digit declines in TV viewing globally, with 14- to 17-year-olds abandoning the TV screen at the rate of 33 percent for movies and television shows and 26 percent for sporting events. This decline continues for 18- to 34-year-olds at 14 percent for movies and television shows and 12 percent for sporting events, and for 35- to 54-year-olds, at 11 and nine percent, respectively. It does, however, flatten among the 55 and older crowd, at six percent and one percent respectively.

New Report: Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S.

April 20, 2015 Comments off

New Report: Disparities in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Services in the U.S.
Source: William T. Grant Foundation

Mental health is recognized as a central determinant of individual well-being, family relationships, and engagement in society, yet there are considerable variations in mental health and mental health care according to race and ethnicity among youth in the U.S.

In their new report, Margarita Alegría and colleagues investigate disparities in mental health and mental health services for minority youth. Taking a developmental perspective, the authors explore four areas that may give rise to inequalities in mental health outcomes, highlight specific protective factors and barriers to care, and, finally, outline an agenda for future research.

The authors write, “Over the past decade, the study of inequality in health and mental health has grown rapidly, with researchers seeking to quantify the extent of the problem, identify causal mechanisms, and develop interventions to eliminate specific disparities. Even so, inequity persists, and in most areas of health care progress has been limited and incremental in nature. There is good reason to believe that a renewed focus on prevention of youth mental health problems among minorities could not only yield more rapid results, but could also drastically reduce overall inequality in the long-term.”

Employee Assistance Programs in Private Health Plans: What Do They Offer?

April 19, 2015 Comments off

Employee Assistance Programs in Private Health Plans: What Do They Offer?
Source: Psychiatric Services

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) address issues affecting work performance and well-being. Studies show positive EAP outcomes, although methodological limitations necessitate additional research (1). Health plans are among the vendors selling EAPs to employers, but data on these EAPs are sparse. Data are from a 2010 survey of private health plans in 60 markets. A total of 389 market area–specific plans (89% response) reported on behavioral health services in 939 insurance products. The analysis included 200 products (from 72 plans) reporting EAPs.

Most products (57%) required that purchasers pay additional fees rather than including the EAP without charge in standard packages (Figure 1). Only 12% of products contracted with an EAP vendor outside the plan. Although 36% recommended that enrollees use the EAP before accessing behavioral health benefits, only 4% required this. Forty-five percent of products with EAPs covered clinical assessment. Nearly all covered in-person and telephone counseling. All products reporting per-year limits reported eight-session limits. Of products with per-problem limits, 78% had a five-session limit, and the remainder had a six-session limit.
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Trends in Long-acting Reversible Contraception Use Among U.S. Women Aged 15–44

April 17, 2015 Comments off

Trends in Long-acting Reversible Contraception Use Among U.S. Women Aged 15–44
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

Data from the National Survey of Family Growth

  • Use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) declined between 1982 and 1988, remained stable through 2002, and then increased nearly five-fold in the last decade among women aged 15–44, from 1.5% in 2002 to 7.2% in 2011–2013.
  • The percentage of women using LARCs has remained highest among women aged 25–34, with more than twice as many women aged 25–34 (11.1%) using LARCs in 2011–2013 compared with women aged 15–24 (5.0%) and aged 35–44 (5.3%).
  • After decreasing between 1982 and 1988 and remaining stable from 1988 through 1995, LARC-use patterns diverged among Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black women.
  • Women who have had at least one birth use LARCs at a higher rate compared with women who have had no previous births, and this difference has increased over time.

Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

April 17, 2015 Comments off

Interim Report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy. It is key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.

In light of the recent events that have exposed rifts in the relationships between local police and the communities they protect and serve, on December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

In establishing the task force, the President spoke of the distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities—the sense that in a country where our basic principle is equality under the law, too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they are being treated fairly.

It became very clear that it is time for a comprehensive and multifaceted examination of all the interrelated parts of the criminal justice system and a focused investigation into how poverty, lack of education, mental health, and other social conditions cause or intersect with criminal behavior. We propose two overarching recommendations that will seek the answers to these questions.

0.1 OVERARCHING RECOMMENDATION: The President should support and provide funding for the creation of a National Crime and Justice Task Force to review and evaluate all components of the criminal justice system for the purpose of making recommendations to the country on comprehensive criminal justice reform.

0.2 OVERARCHING RECOMMENDATION: The President should promote programs that take a comprehensive and inclusive look at community based initiatives that address the core issues of poverty, education, health, and safety.

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