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Research on Body-Worn Cameras and Law Enforcement

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Research on Body-Worn Cameras and Law Enforcement
Source: National Institute of Justice

In a sample of police departments surveyed in 2013, approximately 75 percent of them reported that they did not use body-worn cameras. The survey was funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).[1]

PERF’s report about the survey notes a number of perceived benefits for using body-worn cameras, including better evidence documentation and increased accountability and transparency.[2] But the report also notes many other factors that law enforcement executives must consider, such as privacy issues, officer and community concerns, data retention and public disclosure policies, and financial considerations.[3] The costs of implementing body-worn cameras include not only the cost of the cameras, but also of any ancillary equipment (e.g., tablets that let officers tag data in the field), data storage and management, training, administration, and disclosure.[4]

Teen Dating Violence: How Peers Can Affect Risk & Protective Factors

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Teen Dating Violence: How Peers Can Affect Risk & Protective Factors (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

Compared to childhood, adolescence is a period marked by significant changes in the nature and importance of interpersonal relationships. Relationships with friends become more autonomous and central to personal well-being and, for the first time, many youth become involved in romantic relationships. Although the initiation of romantic relationships is a positive and healthy experience for many youth, it is a source of violence and abuse for others. Approximately 9 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the past year. Teen dating violence rates appear to be even higher among certain populations, such as youth who have a history of exposure to violence.

Recognizing the large number of youth who experience dating violence, policymakers at the federal and state levels have worked to raise awareness of dating violence, prevent violence from occurring, and offer more protection and services to victims. In response to this increased focus on teen dating violence, research has begun to flourish. Since 2008, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has provided close to $15 million in funding for basic, applied and policy-level research on dating violence. These projects have led to increased knowledge about risk and protective factors and psychosocial health behaviors associated with teen dating violence, and to the development and evaluation of dating violence prevention programs targeting diverse samples of youth. Research has also examined adolescents’ knowledge of and barriers to using protection orders against violent partners.

This Research in Brief looks at the research from the perspective of one key emerging theme: Peers and the contexts in which peers interact can contribute to their risk for and protection against dating violence. Although we focus primarily on findings from NIJ-funded research, we also draw upon the broader literature on adolescent development and romantic relationships to show ways that teens shape each other’s experiences across the spectrum of entering into and leaving violent romantic relationships.

Criminal Justice Restraints Standard NIJ Standard 1001.00

January 13, 2015 Comments off

Criminal Justice Restraints Standard NIJ Standard 1001.00 (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

This document is a voluntary performance standard for restraints for use by the criminal justice community. It defines both performance requirements and the methods used to test performance. In order for a manufacturer, supplier or other entity to claim that a particular restraint model satisfies this National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standard, the model must be in compliance with this standard, as determined in accordance with this document and the associated document, Criminal Justice Restraints Certification Program Requirements, NIJ CR- 1001.00. Both this standard and the associated certification program requirements document are produced as a part of the Standards and Testing Program of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, NIJ, as is a third associated document, the Criminal Justice Restraints Selection and Application Guide, NIJ Guide-1001.00.

All requirements stated in this standard, including those that explicitly employ mandatory language (e.g., “shall”), are those necessary to satisfy this standard. Nothing in this document is intended to require or imply that commercially available restraints must satisfy this standard.

This document is a performance and testing standard and, therefore, provides precise and detailed test methods.

This standard addresses only wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle restraints. This standard does not address any restraint constructed of natural/non-synthetic materials (e.g., leather, natural rubber, cotton).

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

The Boston Police Department (BPD) has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media. The department put its experience to good and highly visible use in April 2013 during the dramatic, rapidly developing investigation that followed the deadly explosion of two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. BPD successfully used Twitter to keep the public informed about the status of the investigation, to calm nerves and request assistance, to correct mistaken information reported by the press, and to ask for public restraint in the tweeting of information from police scanners. This demonstrated the level of trust and interaction that a department and a community can attain online. In the aftermath of the investigation, BPD was “applauded for leading an honest conversation with the public during a time of crisis in a way that no police department has done before.”

GPS Monitoring: An Effective, Cost-Saving Option

February 20, 2014 Comments off

GPS Monitoring: An Effective, Cost-Saving Option (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

The researchers analyzed information from the state’s data management system and examined official arrest records, parole supervision records, GPS monitoring data and state cost information. In addition, they conducted a survey of roughly 1,000 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) parole officers. The survey included questions about the GPS monitoring system, caseloads, program staffing and screening of high-risk sex offender parolees.

The results showed that GPS monitoring was more effective than traditional parole in reducing recidivism and was also more cost-effective. Parolees in the traditional group — those not placed on GPS monitoring — committed new crimes and had their parole revoked more often than parolees in the GPS group. The traditional group’s recidivism rate was 38 percent higher than that of the GPS group.

Making Sense of DNA Backlogs, 2012-Myths vs. Reality

January 14, 2014 Comments off

Making Sense of DNA Backlogs, 2012-Myths vs. Reality (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

This special report provides an update on the status of DNA backlogs in the United States, as last reported in Making Sense of DNA Backlogs, 2010 — Myths vs. Reality (NCJ 232197). When the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) published that report, there was no standard definition of “backlog.” Laboratories defined the term in various ways before 2011. To clarify the meaning and introduce a uniform definition, NIJ required laboratories that received federal funds to define a backlogged case as one that had not been closed by a final report within 30 days after receipt of the evidence in the laboratory. NIJ further required laboratories to define a backlogged DNA database sample from convicted offenders and arrestees as one that had not been tested and uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) within 30 days of receipt of the sample in the laboratory. The data in this report use this standard definition.

This update shows that:

  • Laboratory capacity continues to grow due to increasing automation, hiring of more personnel, use of overtime and improved testing procedures and methods. The federal government supports these activities through NIJ’s DNA Backlog Reduction Program.
  • Laboratories processed 10 percent more forensic DNA cases in 2011 than in 2009.
  • DNA backlogs nevertheless continued to increase because the demand for forensic DNA casework services in 2011 increased by 16.4 percent over 2009 demands, which continues to outpace the nation’s capacity to work DNA cases.
  • Although 52.2 percent fewer database samples from convicted offenders and arrestees were completed in 2011 than in 2009, new demand to test and upload database samples dropped 51.2 percent, so the overall workload decreased 46.3 percent from 2009 levels.
  • Hiring additional DNA analysts, retaining trained personnel, automating work processes, implementing new technologies and altering business practices offer potential solutions to reducing DNA backlogs.

Study of Victim Experiences of Wrongful Conviction

December 16, 2013 Comments off

Study of Victim Experiences of Wrongful Conviction (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice

Over the past three decades, the rate of exonerations has more than doubled, growing from an average of 24 per year from 1989 through 1999 to an average of 52 per year from 2000 through 2010 (Gross & Shaffer, 2012). While significant strides have been made to identify and assist wrongfully convicted individuals in gaining their freedom and transitioning to life after exoneration, little is known about the experiences of victims during this process. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice funded ICF International to conduct an exploratory study examining victim experiences in cases of wrongful conviction in order to begin to fill this gap in knowledge. This report documents the methodolo gy and findings from the study, and examines the implications for practice and policy.

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