Thursday, June 21, 2012

Private prisons waning, police robots, and other stories

Here are a few items that didn't make it into their own posts but deserve Grits readers' attention:

Police robots
The Austin Police Department plans to deploy robots developed for the military that cost about $10,000 apiece and will be used for surveillance, executing search warrants and by the bomb squad, which already uses a less sophisticated version.

Use of force policies at Austin PD
See a paper published last year by an employee of the Austin Police Monitor's office on "An Ideal Use of Force Model for Law Enforcement." Relatedly, APD recently changed its policies related to use of force against dogs after an officer showed up at the wrong house earlier this year and shot the owner's pet.

Another innocent man on death row?
Jordan Smith has an article in The Nation titled, "Rodney Reed: Another innocent man on death row?"

Reducing jail population in Longview
The Gregg County Jail has been experimenting with new methods of reducing the local jail population to save money, resulting in "the smallest jail population in years."

Can America reduce its prison population?
A pessimist questions, "Can America reduce its prison population?" If "non-prison alternatives can't be proved to work, she said, the 'incredibly huge' constituencies for the status quo, including labor unions for prison employees and rural communities that depend on income from prisons, will prevail."

Private prisons waning?
"US states are beginning to rely less on privately run prisons," says the BBC, but Canada is considering using them. Meanwhile, the private prison company Community Education Centers is having a bad week.


Anonymous said...

Can America reduce its prison population? Can your pets stop killing people?

editor said...

In regards to Longview story . . . I also noticed that Gregg County provided an additional $30,000 to its existing amount of $350,000 funding to community mental health. Smith County, on the other hand, provides no more than $90,000 to community mental healt

john said...

The post office used to have a rule for carriers who drive the little trucks--any wreck, and you're done. My ex worked there in the '80's-'90's.
All the harmful activities by cops should go up the line. Shoot the wrong dog or wrong person, etc., then the cop and all bosses that knew are demoted, reassigned etc. NO MORE LEAVE with PAY, during investigations. Even if it turns out to be a genuine accident, they are no longer working in that capacity where they might endanger an honest citizen. Jefferson and many spoke & wrote about the checks and balances----the idea was to protect the people from criminals including the government. The idea was maybe someone guilty gets off, sometimes, but at least no one innocent ever is injured.
We've lost that totally. Those in power WILL stay there by any means necessary. Like with unions, etc., the good and conscientious people become the silent majority, and the ambitious jackasses rule. I guess it's a human thing; but that's more reason we need checks and balances.

Say, today's Captcha picture is completely unrecognizable as something to be typed. I'll click for another. It's like bad photos of house street numbers.

Doug said...

John, what you're really saying is that police officers should not receive the same Consitutional protections as other citizens. You literally want police officers to be 2nd class citizens with no rights. So, we have to be enforcers, counselors, police officers, and peace officers with no constitutional rights? No thanks. Neither I nor any other cop wants to live or work in such a world. I prefer to serve my community as part of a Constitutional Republic with due process rights for everyone. That you and other police critics are urgent to do away with due process and Constitutional rights for police officers says a lot about how much you value the American form of government.