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December 15, 2016

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JUSTNETNews is a service of the Justice Technology Information Center, a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, a program the Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. We are always interested in our readers' comments and feedback about this service. Please send your comments, questions, or suggestions to

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Federal Funding Opportunities:

Funding for Research Assistantship Positions with NIJ, NIJ will provide funds to participating universities to pay salaries and costs associated with research assistants to work on NIJ research projects. Qualified doctoral students have until January 27, 2017 to work with their schools to apply.

Research and Development in Forensic Science for Criminal Justice Purposes, application due date is February 28, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Real-time Crime Forecasting Challenge, application due date is February 28, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Give Us Your Tech Ideas
We are actively seeking ideas to help us identify technology needs and requirements as part of the National Institute of Justice's Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation process.

NLECTC Spotlight

Fact Sheet Highlights JRI Impact in 33 States

A fact sheet from The Pew Charitable Trusts describes Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) efforts in 33 states and their effect on crime rates, state imprisonment rates, and more. JRI is a public-private partnership that includes the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the Crime and Justice Institute, the Vera Institute of Justice and other organizations. Although JRI reforms vary from state to state, all aim to improve public safety and control taxpayer costs by prioritizing prison space for serious and repeat offenders and investing some of the savings in alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders that are effective at reducing recidivism. To read 33 States Reform Criminal Justice Policies Through Justice Reinvestment, go to

NIJ Studies Use of CT Scans in Autopsies

A new report from the National Institute of Justice examines the potential of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies with postmortem X-ray computed tomography, commonly called a CT scan. The report, Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace Medicolegal Autopsies?, discusses NIJ's work with the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator and subsequent findings regarding the topic. To read the report, go to

 Report Looks at Analytical Capabilities of Offender Tracking Devices

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System's National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test, and Evaluation Center has completed work on Geospatial Monitoring of Community-Released Offenders: An Analytics Market Survey, Version 2.0. This 67-page PDF report looks at the analytical capabilities of seven electronic monitoring devices. It summarizes and compares the products' analytical capabilities and includes information on data formatting and information exchange, computing system requirements, and operator/analyst education and training requirements. Under these various categories, the report provides a profile of each product and a table for side-by-side comparison.

In the past, agencies have not made analytical capabilities a priority in selecting offender tracking devices, but capabilities such as crime scene analysis, data and text mining, social network analysis and predictive modeling could help agencies determine client behavioral patterns and predict future outcomes, thus helping the agencies to better manage their caseloads and work schedules. Download the report from  

 New Paper on Community Corrections

The Executive Session on Community Corrections has released the third paper in the New Thinking in Community Corrections series, titled Building Trust and Legitimacy Within Community Corrections. The Executive Session on Community Corrections is sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the Harvard Kennedy School's Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management. The paper discusses the need for a new model for community corrections that can improve public safety while recognizing that people on probation and parole are members of the communities in which they live and are supervised. The authors propose six principles to guide agencies and policy makers in strengthening the field. To read the paper, go to

DEA Releases 2016 Drug Threat Assessment

The Drug Enforcement Administration's 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment details the extent to which illicit drugs are affecting the United States. The assessment illuminates the nationwide opioid epidemic, that is fueling a growing heroin user population and resulting in a greater amount of overdoses. The problem has been exacerbated by the reemergence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is more potent than heroin. The report also found that Mexican transnational criminal organizations continue to act as the biggest criminal drug threat to the U.S. and are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. View the DEA announcement at Download the assessment summary at NDTA Summary.pdf.

Smart Policing Initiative Solicitation

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has released its 2017 solicitation for Smart Policing Initiative sites. The SPI grant program seeks to build on analysis-driven, evidence-based policing by encouraging state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to develop effective and innovative responses to crime within their jurisdictions. Applications are due Jan. 26, 2017. For details go to

New Issue of AJAlert Available

to read the December 13 issue of AJAlert, the online newsletter of the American Jail Association. The newsletter features news briefs and listings of upcoming events.
Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Call of Possible Drunk Driver Came Before Fatal Officer-involved Shooting
WECT, (12/13/2016)

Leland (N.C.) Police Officer Jacob Schwenk survived several bullet wounds, including one to the chest that was stopped by his ballistic-resistant vest, in a shootout with a suspect Friday evening. Schwenk was responding to a call of a vehicle weaving in the roadway and running over mailboxes. He exchanged gunfire with the driver, Brent Quinn, who was killed in the exchange.
Link to Article

County Approves $11.15 Million Contract for Updated Equipment
WOWT 6 News, (12/06/2016)

The emergency communications system in Douglas County, Neb., will be updated with new site equipment and enhanced data under an $11.15 million contract with Motorola Solutions. The upgrades include new radios for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Douglas County Corrections and rural law enforcement agencies in the county. The new radios allow for additional features and functionality, and the upgraded network provides improved communications and interoperability.
Link to Article

FBI Uses Animal Abuse Data to Study Correlation to Crimes Against Humans
Charleston Gazette-Mail, (12/06/2016), Rick Steelhammer

Animal abuse is believed to be a key precursor activity to crimes of violence against people, and this year the FBI began collecting animal cruelty crime data for use in investigating violent crimes such as child abuse, sexual assault and homicide. Animal cruelty crime data is included in the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which also tracks hate crimes and violent crimes. Demographic information in NIBRS about animal cruelty offenders including age, gender and previous arrests will help FBI analysts determine how strong the link is between animal cruelty and crimes of violence against people. The database allows investigators to identify and map hot spots for puppy mills, dog fighting and cockfighting, and keep track of the names and location of people known to be involved in them.
Link to Article

'Tool Kit' Announced to Aid Law Enforcement With Backlogged Rape Kits
WHAS11 (12/07/2016)

Kentucky law enforcement agencies now have a "tool kit" to help deal with thousands of untested rape kits. The tool kit released by state Attorney General Andy Beshear includes resources for law enforcement on managing sexual assault kits, preplanning of investigations while kits are being tested, reviewing DNA results once kits are returned, and notifying and interviewing victims.
Link to Article

Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Get Funding to Improve Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety
Tampa Bay Business Journal, (12/01/2016), Janelle Irwin

Law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in Florida will use grant money to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. The grants from the Florida Department of Transportation and the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research will be used, for example, for officer overtime to monitor busy and dangerous intersections, and for officers dedicated to enforcing pedestrian and cycling rules and educating motorists on how to be safe.
Link to Article

Aviation Unit Returns to the Department of Natural Resources
HeliHub, (12/04/2016)

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources again has a helicopter as an enforcement tool. The aircraft will be used as a surveillance platform to assist Natural Resources police officers as they patrol 17,000 miles of waterways and nearly a half-million acres of public lands. The department once had a police aviation unit, which was eliminated in 2009 and its helicopter transferred to another agency. That same helicopter became available last year, and after it was refurbished, was brought back to the department.
Link to Article

Sacramento, Calif., Police Launch Real-Time Crime Center
Government Technology, (12/07/2016), Eyragon Eidam

The Sacramento Police Department has a new Real-Time Crime Center, which will provide officers in the field with real-time, tech-enabled intelligence during large events and critical incidents. Law enforcement officials now have access to more than 46 police mobile camera systems and other streaming video feeds from surface streets, public transit and popular public areas. Center staff also monitor radio traffic, social media feeds and a gunshot detection system.
Link to Article

Grants to Help Community Policing Efforts
CBS19 Newsplex, (12/12/2016)

Three dozen law enforcement agencies across Virginia are getting grants to support training and equipment to enhance the agencies' community-inclusive policing efforts. The money for the grants comes from federal funds awarded to Virginia by the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. Earlier this year, listening sessions were held for law enforcement and community groups, during which ideas were pitched and then selected for funding, including one-on-one and small group mentoring for youths and their families; training for law enforcement officers in de-escalation and crisis communication strategies; and equipment for a police department athletic program intended for at-risk youth.
Link to Article

Corrections News

New Screening Tool, Vigilance Lead to Drop in Texas Jail Suicides
The Texas Tribune, (12/04/2016), Johnathan Silver

Inmate suicides in Texas county jails have sharply declined since the jails began using a new intake form to determine if inmates are suicide risks, along with better follow-up and services. Since December 2015, 14 county jail inmates have taken their own lives, a drop from a record 34 suicides between December 2014 and November 2015. Previously, jails asked inmates to self-report medical problems and indicate if they felt depressed or suicidal. The new screening forms use multiple questions to obtain the same information and give jailers lengthier instructions for responding to inmate answers. Additional suggestions for improvement include diverting inmates with mental illness and substance abuse and enhancing suicide prevention techniques.
Link to Article

Lower Inmate Population Results in Unit Closures
The Hour, (12/07/2016), Ken Dixon

Connecticut recently closed four units at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers due to a drop in crime in the state and fewer inmates. The units once held 400 prisoners. The state is experiencing a drop in crime and a 40-percent decline in the recidivism rate. The prison population is down 17-percent since 2012, with about 14,800 inmates currently, and three prisons have been closed in recent years. Over the last three years, the state has seen a 23 percent drop in violent crime, which is now is at its lowest level in Connecticut since 1974.
Link to Article

Prisons Set to Receive $1.3 Million to Fight Illegal Cell Phone Use
The Post and Courier, (12/08/2016), Gavin Jackson

South Carolina plans to operate a $1.3 million system to detect and target illegal cell phone use by inmates in restrictive housing units in four state prisons. It is seen as the best option available to combat illegal phone use, since federal law prohibits cell phone jamming. In 2015, the Department of Corrections reported 1,610 incidents involving cell phones, or their accessories, by inmates.
Link to Article

'It Does Not Have to be This Way': Report Slams Services for Former Inmates Returning to D.C.
The Washington Post, (12/12/2016), Justin Wm. Moyer

People returning to the District of Columbia after serving time in prison face particular challenges for successful reentry into society, according to a report from the Council for Court Excellence. The report said that "D.C.'s returning citizens face a variety of challenges that returning citizens elsewhere simply do not confront," and notes the city's status as a federal district rather than a state. The report found that more than one in five employed returning citizens lack stable housing when they return to the community, and those who were unemployed were even more likely to stay in homeless shelters or on the street. Its recommendations include that correctional facilities have returning citizens apply for housing up to 90 days before release, and it urges the D.C. Council to approve legislation preventing landlords from discriminating against those with criminal records. Kevin Donahue, the city's deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said in a statement that the District "continues to identify opportunities to improve our supports for our inmate population and returning citizens in an effort to reduce recidivism."
Link to Article

Upcoming Events

For additional information on these events go to:

  • Collecting Footwear and Tire Impressions in Snow - On demand presentation
  • American Probation and Parole Association: Winter Training Institute,
    Reno, NV, January 8-11, 2017
  • American Correctional Association Conference, San Antonio, TX,
    January 20-25, 2017
  • 2017 National Conference on Bullying, March 1-3, 2017, Orlando, FL

The JUSTNETNews Mailing List is maintained by the Justice Technology Information Center, a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, supported by Cooperative Agreement 2014-IJ-CX-K004 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Regular postings to JUSTNETNews include abstracted news articles on law enforcement and corrections technology topics, upcoming NLECTC and NIJ events, NLECTC services and activities, new publications, and other technology-related announcements. Please note that providing information on law enforcement and corrections technology or the mention of specific manufacturers or products does not constitute the endorsement of the U.S. Department of Justice or its component parts.

The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART).


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