Criminology and Economic Theory
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Alaska VPSOs get official state backing for firearms training and use

Alaska VPSOs get official state backing for firearms training and use | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
After the death of village public safety officer Thomas Madole, the Alaska Legislature voted unanimously to allow Native associations to let the officers carry handguns. The bill was signed into law Friday in Naknek by Gov. Sean Parnell. 
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Criminology and Economic Theory
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Esri UK Annual Conference 2016 - What's New in the ArcGIS Platform


Via Fernando Gil
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The basic platform used by many crime analysis programs....
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Machine Bias: There’s Software Used Across the Country to Predict Future Criminals. And it’s Biased Against Blacks.

Bernard Parker, left, was rated high risk; Dylan Fugett was rated low risk. (Josh Ritchie for ProPublica)
Machine Bias
There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.

by Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner, ProPublica
May 23, 2016


ON A SPRING AFTERNOON IN 2014, Brisha Borden was running late to pick up her god-sister from school when she spotted an unlocked kid’s blue Huffy bicycle and a silver Razor scooter. Borden and a friend grabbed the bike and scooter and tried to ride them down the street in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Coral Springs.
Just as the 18-year-old girls were realizing they were too big for the tiny conveyances — which belonged to a 6-year-old boy — a woman came running after them saying, “That’s my kid’s stuff.” Borden and her friend immediately dropped the bike and scooter and walked away.
But it was too late — a neighbor who witnessed the heist had already called the police. Borden and her friend were arrested and charged with burglary and petty theft for the items, which were valued at a total of $80.


Compare their crime with a similar one: The previous summer, 41-year-old Vernon Prater was picked up for shoplifting $86.35 worth of tools from a nearby Home Depot store.
Prater was the more seasoned criminal. He had already been convicted of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, for which he served five years in prison, in addition to another armed robbery charge. Borden had a record, too, but it was for misdemeanors committed when she was a juvenile.
Yet something odd happened when Borden and Prater were booked into jail: A computer program spat out a score predicting the likelihood of each committing a future crime. Borden — who is black — was rated a high risk. Prater — who is white — was rated a low risk.
Two years later, we know the computer algorithm got it exactly backward. Borden has not been charged with any new crimes. Prater is serving an eight-year prison term for subsequently breaking into a warehouse and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics.
Scores like this — known as risk assessments — are increasingly common in courtrooms across the nation. They are used to inform decisions about who can be set free at every stage of the criminal justice system, from assigning bond amounts — as is the case in Fort Lauderdale — to even more fundamental decisions about defendants’ freedom. In Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, the results of such assessments are given to judges during criminal sentencing.
Rating a defendant’s risk of future crime is often done in conjunction with an evaluation of a defendant’s rehabilitation needs. The Justice Department’s National Institute of Corrections now encourages the use of such combined assessments at every stage of the criminal justice process. And a landmark sentencing reform bill currently pending in Congress would mandate the use of such assessments in federal prisons.
Two Petty Theft Arrests
Borden was rated high risk for future crime after she and a friend took a kid’s bike and scooter that were sitting outside. She did not reoffend.
In 2014, then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder warned that the risk scores might be injecting bias into the courts. He called for the U.S. Sentencing Commission to study their use. “Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice,” he said, adding, “they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.”
The sentencing commission did not, however, launch a study of risk scores. So ProPublica did, as part of a larger examination of the powerful, largely hidden effect of algorithms in American life.
We obtained the risk scores assigned to more than 7,000 people arrested in Broward County, Florida, in 2013 and 2014 and checked to see how many were charged with new crimes over the next two years, the same benchmark used by the creators of the algorithm.
The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime: Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually went on to do so.

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During the Civil Rights era, the courts latched onto the notion that due process was the way to remove racial bias from the system, but social problems are rarely easy to solve; and, due process has not proven to be the cure...
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The False Promise of DNA Testing

The False Promise of DNA Testing | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The forensic technique is becoming ever more common—and ever less reliable.
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Using an outlier to prove a point, however, is a common logical fallacy.
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Inside ‘Elle’: The Rape-Revenge Film Seducing Cannes

Inside ‘Elle’: The Rape-Revenge Film Seducing Cannes | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The latest by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Verhoeven (‘Basic Instinct’) stars Isabelle Huppert as a woman who seeks revenge on her rapist through very unique means.
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Chicago police arrest almost 100 gang members over 2 days

Chicago police arrest almost 100 gang members over 2 days | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Chicago police say they have arrested nearly 100 alleged street gang members and 40 others on weapons and drug trafficking charges in an effort to combat the city's gun violence.

Officials announced the arrests Friday, saying they took place over the past two days with help from federal law enforcement.
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Gunner Young's comment, May 21, 9:03 PM
I think that that is a huge amount of arrests to make over that short period of time. I would like to know if this was a planned operation and the length of time that this was planned. I noticed that they said that they worked with federal law enforcement but they don't say whom.
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A New Growth Industry for Native Americans: Weed

A New Growth Industry for Native Americans: Weed | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Can cannabis revive Oregon’s long-struggling reservation economies?
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No, Bill Clinton Does Not ‘Know How’ To Fix The Economy

No, Bill Clinton Does Not ‘Know How’ To Fix The Economy | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
But the Clinton boom, and even some specific Clinton policies, also helped sow the seeds for the far more severe Great Recession of the late 2000s. Mortgage-backed securities and subprime loans weren’t invented in the 1990s, but they expanded greatly during the period, part of a broader “financialization” of the U.S. economy that contributed directly to the severity of the Great Recession. Critics on the right argue Clinton-administration policies promoting increased lending to low-income and minority applicants contributed to the subsequent bubble; critics on the left, including Bernie Sanders, argue that Clinton’s deregulation of the banking industry paved the way for the crisis.

Bill Clinton deserves, at most, a small sliver of the blame for the financial crisis. But he probably doesn’t deserve much credit for the late-’90s boom, either.
Rob Duke's insight:
Who knows where the National Elections are going later this year, but here's a little food for thought....
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What life is like now for one of the Fairbanks Four

What life is like now for one of the Fairbanks Four | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
George Frese has been a free man for five months now. He’s taken his daughter shopping for shoes, plucked geese in Beaver, gone four wheeling in Fort Yukon. He’s told his story in tribal halls and school gymnasiums across Interior Alaska. After more than 18 years in prison, it took a while for it all … Continue reading What life is like now for one of the Fairbanks Four
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Lydia Weiss's comment, May 21, 12:49 AM
Being totally honest, I don't know enough about this to have an opinion on whether it was a good decision to let them go or not. I would have only been 2 or 3 when it happened, and while I'm from Alaska, I'm not originally from Fairbanks. From what this article stated, he seems to be making light of this situation and using it for good, but one article is not enough to base an entire opinion on.
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Who Are These People? A Look at Trump's Potential Supreme Court Picks

Who Are These People? A Look at Trump's Potential Supreme Court Picks | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The list suggests the presumptive Republican nominee has no interest in breaking the mold when it comes to the lifetime appointments on the court.
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Lydia Weiss's comment, May 21, 12:54 AM
I don't even know where to start with Trump. I'm not going to get into a huge political debate here, but I have some views that are democratic and some that are more towards republican. However, his lack of knowledge in the world of law and politics is worrisome. While not much would maybe be done, I believe equal representation in the supreme court from both sides would be most helpful, but either side will just be trying to get all on their side to further their agendas.
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Study: To Reduce School Violence, Start With Test Scores

Study: To Reduce School Violence, Start With Test Scores | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Researchers find causal link between academic gains and safer schools.
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Gunner Young's comment, May 19, 11:07 PM
One thing that I thought about that the article didn't address is whether the violent kids got kicked out of school and the intellectual students didn't just stay. This would make scores rise. Also, kids focusing on their grades wouldn't focus on violent activities. This article comes across to me as a sort of propaganda proposing that if we raise our academic curriculum people students will stop fighting.
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Here's the Most Dangerous City in California

Here's the Most Dangerous City in California | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
One analysis of crime and other data says San Bernardino is California's most dangerous city.
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Oh, Berdoo! I see nothing ever changes.  This is where I learned the police trade.  They had a pop. of 260k and 170 homicides a year in the 1980's and early 1990's.  The demographics and prosperity are about the same as when I grew up there.....
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Scientists say there’s such a thing as “ethical amnesia” and it’s probably happened to you

Scientists say there’s such a thing as “ethical amnesia” and it’s probably happened to you | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Most of us like to think that we have moral standards, and there may be a psychological reason why.
A study published (paywall) today (May 16) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that when we act unethically, we’re more likely to remember these actions less clearly. Researchers from Northwestern University and Harvard University coined the term “unethical amnesia” to describe this phenomenon, which they believe stems from the fact that memories of ourselves acting in ways we shouldn’t are uncomfortable.
“Unethical amnesia is driven by the desire to lower one’s distress that comes from acting unethically and to maintain a positive self-image as a moral individual,” the authors write in the paper.
To investigate, Maryam Kouchaki, a behavioral research specialist at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and her colleague Francesca Gino at Harvard Business School conducted nine separate studies with over 2,100 participants. Over the course of their work, they found that people remember the times they acted ethically, like playing a game fairly, more clearly than the times they probably cheated.
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Nathanial Kangas guilty of first-degree murder in 2014 deaths of 2 Alaska state troopers

Nathanial Kangas guilty of first-degree murder in 2014 deaths of 2 Alaska state troopers | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A Fairbanks jury on Monday found Nathanial Kangas guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Alaska state trooper Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson and trooper Gabe Rich in May 2014.

Kangas, 22, gunned down Johnson and Rich as they attempted to arrest his father, Arvin Kangas, on a misdemeanor assault charge.
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I hope the families can find some peace and closure now.....
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Gunner Young's comment, May 19, 11:06 PM
I'm sorry for the Troopers' families and am glad that this case has reached a verdict on the prosecution of Kangas.
Rob Duke's comment, May 20, 12:27 AM
Yes, and one thing you can say for Kangas is that he did not mount a defense. That suggests that he is taking responsibility for causing this tragedy....
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Canada shifting position on UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Canada shifting position on UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Canada is set to formally announce a shift in its position on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, CBC has learned, nearly a decade after the powerful statement of rights was first adopted by the UN.
Via Jeff Makana
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Six More Suicide Attempts in Devastated Attawapiskat Tribe, Chief Says

Six More Suicide Attempts in Devastated Attawapiskat Tribe, Chief Says | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Canadian Tribe Declares State of Emergency Over Suicide Crisis 0:51
At least six more members have tried to take their lives in the past few days in a Canadian aboriginal community of 2,000 that has declared a state of emergency over repeated suicide attempts, its chief said Sunday.

There have been more than 100 suicide attempts and one death since September among the residents of Attawapiskat, in a remote section of Ontario on Hudson Bay.

Chief Bruce Shisheesh of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community, said Sunday on Twitter that two serious cases were reported Saturday, following four suicide attempts late last week. There was no immediate information on the conditions of the residents Sunday.
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How laws meant to protect African elephants may end up hurting Alaska Native artists

How laws meant to protect African elephants may end up hurting Alaska Native artists | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Suppose you own a sculpture by Siberian Yupik artist Beulah Oittillian made from walrus ivory, whalebone and polar bear fur. And suppose you bring it to Los Angeles, where someone offers to buy it from you. Can you sell it to them? Once upon a time, the answer from those familiar with art and law would have been an unequivocal yes. The … Continue reading How laws meant to protect African elephants may end up hurting Alaska Native artists
Rob Duke's insight:
Ivory law & policy is one of the most interesting to study in terms of how government action impacts illegal, yet profitable activity.

Ron Coase, a Nobel Prize winning economist, predicted that markets will work out new arrangements whenever the rules are changed so that a new group owns property rights over certain interests.  Thus, in India where elephants are sacred, the property rights for elephants (and their ivory) belong to a the collective and are protected by a religious belief system, you have no endangered elephants.  In South Africa, you had a system where elephants were kept on ranches and the ivory was harvested (and the tusks grow back rather rapidly).  After the ban, elephant ranchers can no longer sell their ivory, though they continue to preserve their herds.  In Kenya, a similar situation was being successfully managed.  Give the elephants on private land to the land owners and they will manage the herds in such a way as to harvest ivory, and sustain the herds.  In contrast, the U.N. (and other nation states) has banned the sale of ivory, yet demand remains high.  This drives up the price and emboldens rogues to engage in poaching, which ironically increased the threat to endangered African elephants.

What does this say about other types of government crime policy?
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Your Field Guide to the Female Psychopath

Your Field Guide to the Female Psychopath | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
It may be that while many male psychopaths act in traditionally aggressive, socially -constructed ways which can eventually lead them to be incarcerated (and evaluated for psychopathy), female psychopaths operate in more nuanced, less overtly physically aggressive ways, though they can ultimately lead to equally destructive outcomes. Think of a seemingly kind older female nurse who cares for a sick man. This woman could well be a psychopath but her presentation as an older woman in a helping profession causes others to see her in a benevolent light.
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Dean Foods' Davis said he threw phone in creek to hinder FBI

Dean Foods' Davis said he threw phone in creek to hinder FBI | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Dean Foods Co's (DF.N) former chairman Thomas Davis said he threw his cellphone into a Dallas creek to hide his role in an insider-trading scheme after FBI agents visited his home, according to a transcript of his guilty plea.

In a secret hearing in Manhattan on Monday, Davis told a federal judge about his efforts to hinder the investigation into the scheme as FBI agents and regulators closed in on him.

U.S. authorities on Thursday unveiled charges against Davis and gambler William "Billy" Walters for running the insider trading scheme that netted over $40 million and included a tip that benefited professional golfer Phil Mickelson.
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A right, not a duty

A right, not a duty | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Mr Garton Ash does not call for total freedom of speech. He believes child pornography should be banned, for example, and that those who post “revenge porn” should be prosecuted. Overall he makes the case that people have a right, but not a duty, to offend. Better education and a more civil society should help people become more tolerant of one another, and also of their differences. The alternative is a higher degree of state intervention that would stoke resentment, particularly among young people, and end up isolating people from each other. “Only with freedom of expression”, he argues, “can I understand what it is to be you.”
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“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of mortgage fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion

“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of mortgage fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
At the low levels, what you heard a lot in depositions and interviews is that these people needed a job, they didn’t understand the complexities of foreclosure law at all, they were told that what they were doing was legal, and it was drummed into their heads that their employer could always find someone else if they had a crisis of conscience. What I call in the book the Great Foreclosure Machine survived on this intimidation of their own workers. It was a tough time for the economy and the ordinary $12/hour working stiff didn’t have any bargaining power. So people just went along. That probably says something worse about American workplaces than American ethics!
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Overtime rule out today

Overtime rule out today | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The rule, which will take effect Dec. 1, raises to $47,476 the salary threshold under which virtually all workers qualify for overtime pay. (We said $47,000, we said $47,500; now we’re saying $47,476, which is where it honest-to-God ended up.) That's more than double the current salary threshold ($23,660 ) but below the Labor Department's proposed threshold ($50,440). Workers above the salary threshold may still be eligible for overtime provided their duties aren't executive, administrative or professional. The rule won't affect hourly workers, whom employers already must pay overtime. More from POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine here: http://politico.pro/203zbbi


For the first time, the Labor Department will index future salary thresholds to inflation: Every three years the threshold will rise to the 40th wage percentile for full-time salaried workers in the country’s lowest-wage region (now and for the foreseeable future that’s the Southeast). Previously, lifting the salary threshold required the department to propose a new regulation — a politically and bureaucratically arduous process.
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Gardner Fellow Danny Murillo on Life after Solitary | Institute of Governmental Studies - UC Berkeley

Gardner Fellow Danny Murillo on Life after Solitary | Institute of Governmental Studies - UC Berkeley | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
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Can CBD Mitigate Psychotic Symptoms? Initial Research Is Promising - Reset.me

Can CBD Mitigate Psychotic Symptoms? Initial Research Is Promising - Reset.me | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Investigators have begun to assess the use of CBD in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. For instance, a 1995 case study reported significant improvement of schizophrenic symptoms in a single patient following four-weeks of daily CBD treatment. The patient’s condition noticeably worsened when treatment was discontinued.
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Lydia Weiss's comment, May 21, 12:58 AM
Oof. It's looking like Criminology is going to involve a lot of controversial topics, isn't it? Personally, I'm all for the medical use of CBD. It has a lot of medical benefits. However, its legalization may present an opportunity for others to smoke recreationally if they find a loophole. As with alcohol, I believe it is fine in its own time, but I don't believe it should impede other obligations.
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Everybody Is Constipated, Nobody Is Constipated

Everybody Is Constipated, Nobody Is Constipated | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest books in the world, promoted a theory of disease that begins with toxic, undigested food poisoning the body from the gut outward. Doctors no longer believe that, but we’re still worried about constipation. Even though most people who feel constipated never seek a doctor’s opinion on it, it still accounts for 8 million physician visits every year in the United States. The connections between the Ebers Papyrus and the modern health care industry are about culture as much as they are about the gut. Constipation is a social disease. It exists in your head and your heart, as well as in your colon.

To get a sense of what it means for constipation to be cultural, look no further than current estimations of the prevalence of constipation in the public. There are an awful lot of people who feel like they are constipated even though their doctors disagree. The rate of constipation in North America could be anywhere from 2 percent to 27 percent, according to a systematic review of the literature published in 2004. But the studies with the highest estimates tend to collect the data from patients’ self-reports, said Dr. Peter Higgins, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan and an author of that review paper. “If you look at physician discharge billing codes, it’s more like 1.2 percent to 4 percent,” he told me.
Rob Duke's insight:
Another interesting take on cultural differences.
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