News Center

Our News Center features summaries of the latest technology, equipment, strategies and news releases of interest to law enforcement, corrections and courts professionals. In addition we offer a weekly news digest—JUSTNET-News—and our award-winning newsmagazine—eTechBeat.

New Releases in the field of Corrections

Corrections Canada Trying to Stop Inmates From Overdosing on Fentanyl
In the last three years, the synthetic opioid fentanyl has been linked “in some way” to 27 overdoses within the Canada’s federal prisons.  Because fentanyl is often disguised as another kind of less-potent opioid, such as oxycodone, officials say inmates sometimes don’t know what they're taking. The correctional service is conducting awareness campaigns for inmates and offering programs to reduce their dependence on drugs, while continuing to try to stop drugs from getting inside through the use of ion scanners and drug detector dogs.

Jails Consider Body Scan Devices to Curtail Contraband
Some Kentucky jails already use low-dose radiation full-body scans to search persons entering the facilities for contraband. Others are considering buying the equipment, as the scanners become more advanced, more compact and less expensive. At a cost of $200,000 each, many jail systems consider the purchase price worth it in terms of the contraband that they stop. Read the story here.

DOC Groping for Alternatives After Ditching X-ray Body Scanners
The Maine Department of Corrections has stopped using transmission X-Ray scanners to detect contraband, following a citation from the Bureau of Labor Standards for "serious" safety violations related to operation of a body scanner at Maine Correctional Center. Corrections officers had voiced concerns about having to operate the scanners, which were more irradiating than the controversial backscatter X-ray systems previously used in airports.

Contraband Drugs in W.Va. Jails Are an Epidemic: State and County Officials
State and county officials agree that contraband drugs are a problem in the state’s jails, but express varying opinions on whether, and how, to address the issue.

Suboxone -- the New Jailhouse Drug of Choice
Large amounts of contraband prescription opiate Suboxone are finding their way into correctional facilities in Massachusetts. A prescription drug intended to help fight opiate addiction, the drug is easy to smuggle because large quantities of the strips fit into very small packages. Read more here.

Report: Probation, Parole Sentences Decrease without Risking Public Safety
Individuals convicted of lower-level, usually nonviolent, felonies in Missouri can earn early discharge credits from probation or parole. Offenders can shorten their sentences by 30 days for every calendar month they follow the conditions of their sentences. A Pew Charitable Trusts study suggests that they are not re-offending at a higher rate than individuals who serve their full sentences. Read more here.

Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply
The number of accused and convicted criminal offenders monitored with electronic tracking devices in the United States increased 140 percent between 2005 and 2015, from approximately 53,000 to more than 125,000, according to a survey.

Incarceration in the U.S. Costs More Than $1 Trillion a Year, Washington University Study
The economic toll of incarceration in the United States tops $1 trillion, and more than half of that falls on the families and communities of the people incarcerated, according to a study by Washington University researchers.

Arkansas Prison System to Shut Down Its Boot Camp
The Arkansas Department of Corrections will discontinue its boot camp. The program was created in 1989 to enforce military-style discipline with inmates before their release. But the program has had high recidivism rates and was not filled to capacity.

Prisons Chief Orders Sweeping Accuracy Check of Inmate Sentences
The Washington state Department of Corrections has directed staff to verify sentencing information before anyone is released from prison or community supervision to ensure offenders serve the correct amount of time. Staff are checking whether forms used by the courts are clear on whether sentences are consecutive or concurrent, according to a DOC spokesman. The review follows revelations of sentence-calculation problems. For example, in December it was announced that between 2002 and 2015, some offenders convicted of violent crimes had been mistakenly released early, an error that may have freed as many as 3,100 prisoners overall.

Adult Probation & Parole Making Changes to Enhance Parolee Monitoring, Keep Public Safe
The Utah Department of Corrections is taking steps to keep better track of offenders. The Adult Probation and Parole Division has expanded its partnership with the Utah Division of the U.S. Marshals Service's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team to apprehend more than 50 high-priority fugitives. Other improvements include the implementation of a statewide broadcast system to law enforcement agencies to notify them of high-profile fugitives, and the authorization of enhanced GPS monitoring in all community correctional centers.

Data Analytics Helps Bexar County, Texas, Reduce Inmate Population, Save Millions
In the past seven years, the jail in Bexar County, Texas, has achieved a 25-percent reduction in inmate population and eliminated an overcrowding problem thanks to the use of data analytics. Using Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services, staff can better manage cases and identify inmates who are candidates for drug court, those who are ready for transfer and those who could potentially be released. Reducing the jail’s population also saves the county money.

Data-Sharing Efforts Aim to Improve Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Charles Rotramel of Houston reVision, a non-profit agency that works with at-risk youth, is leading an effort to get agencies at both the local and state government levels and from various nonprofits to share data and enable the development of a better picture of how many youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system are also involved in the child welfare system. Such data can prove vital in developing accurate case management pictures.

Addressing Real-World Stab and Slash Threats
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is examining the current Stab Resistant Body Armor Standard in an effort to revise it to enhance officer safety. Corrections officers are faced with significant danger on the job and this fact sheet addresses threats and how a revised standard can mitigate them.

National Institute of Justice Releases New Offender Tracking Standard
Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard NIJ Standard-1004.00, a new standard released July 13, 2016, includes minimum performance criteria and test methods for systems used by criminal justice agencies to monitor individuals on probation, parole, work release and more. NIJ Standard-1004.00 is the first standard to address these complex electronic systems; it was developed over a six-year period by an NIJ Special Technical Committee composed of practitioners, laboratory representatives and other subject-matter experts.

Find the standard here:

SC Hopes Telemedicine Will Improve Inmate Care and Cut Costs
The South Carolina Department of Corrections plans to begin using telemedicine to examine inmates. The agency will partner with the Medical University of South Carolina. Using tools such as videoconferencing, doctors at the Charleston hospital can examine inmates remotely, doing routine exams and diagnosing illnesses. Read more here.

Dane County Health Center Testing Drunken Drivers Using Fingernails, Not Blood  
A Wisconsin mental health center is testing repeat drunken drivers using fingernail clippings instead of blood. The Journey Mental Health Center in Dane County switched the testing method from blood to fingernail clippings earlier this year. Drunken drivers convicted three or more times undergo assessments and treatment for a year, during which they are tested periodically to see if they have been drinking. Read more here.

Exclusive Footage: SC Prisoner Live-Streams From Inside Prison
An inmate in a South Carolina Department of Corrections facility used a cell phone to live-stream from inside his prison cell with help from the mobile app Periscope. In the footage streamed on June 26 and 27, there were three to four other prisoners in the cell drinking from an orange cooler and smoking a substance. Viewers were able to comment and ask questions as prisoners responded in real time. Read more here.

Mahoning Jail ODs Prompt Move to Buy County Scanner
The Mahoning County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office has again requested funding to purchase an airport-style full-body scanner for use with all inmates entering or leaving the county jail. Sheriff Jerry Greene and Maj. Alki Santamas, jail administrator, recently requested funding from the county commissioners; it was the second such request in 2016. Two county jail inmates recently overdosed on a drug allegedly smuggled in by a third inmate; both survived. Link to Article

Cell Phones in Prisons Continue to Cause Problems for States
The use of contraband cellphones to carry out scams and arrange for other crimes from inside correctional facilities has led 10 governors, led by Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, to request permission to jam cell phone signals from inside prisons from the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has stated that in the hands of an inmate, a cell phone is a weapon, indicating he may favor the proposal. Link to Article

BJS reports: Prisoners age 55 or older made up 10% of the state prison population in 2013, up from 3% in 1993
Prisoners age 55 or older sentenced to more than one year in state prison increased from 26,300 in 1993 to 131,500 in 2013. This represented a growth from 3% to 10% of the total state prison population during this period. From 1993 to 2013, the median age of state prisoners increased from 30 to 36 years.

Two main factors contributed to the aging of state prisoners between 1993 and 2013: a greater proportion of older prisoners were serving longer sentences, predominantly for violent offenses, and the number of admissions of older persons increased. Both the admission rate and yearend imprisonment rate for state prisoners age 55 or older increased from 1993 to 2013, which indicates that the aging U.S. resident population was not solely responsible for the growth in older offenders in prison.

Read a Summary of the report here.

Read the Full Report here.

Field Search

    April 29, 2016
Field Search logo

Field Search software provides non-technical criminal justice personnel with a free yet powerful tool to quickly and efficiently search a target computer and create a detailed report of findings.

Fostering Innovation in Community and Institutional Corrections

    April 29, 2016

This report presents the results of the Corrections Advisory Panel, a group convened in fiscal year 2014 as part of the NLECTC Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative to identify current challenges and innovation needs in both community and institutional corrections in the United States.

The electronic version of the 160-page report is available for free and in multiple formats for use in desktop, eReaders and mobile devices. Visit the Rand Web site to read key findings and recommendations and download the ebook.

An NCJRS abstract for Fostering Innovation . . . and links to the report in multiple formats are also available online.

Test and Evaluation of Hand-held Cell Phone Detection Devices

    April 29, 2016
This report presents the result of an operational test and evaluation of four hand-held cellphone detectors in a correctional setting. Criminal justice personnel may request a copy by sending an email to

Cell Phone Forensics in a Correctional Setting Guidebook

    April 29, 2016

This guidebook provides correctional administrators with a brief, yet comprehensive and informative, view of cell phone forensic technologies. It also addresses the opportunities and challenges involved in selecting technologies and implementing them in correctional settings.

The electronic version is available here on JTIC. Download the Cell Phone Forensics Guidebook (PDF 900 kb, 38 pages).

New Releases in the field of Courts Technology

Court Security Officers Get Time on Simulator
Court security deputies and transport officers in Garland County, Ark., recently took “shoot/don’t shoot” simulator training by using the safety of a projection screen to test their ability to make split-second decisions. Read the story here.

Judicial Council Approves Process for Awarding $25 Million for Court Innovations
California’s Judicial Council has adopted a process to award $25 million in grant funding to promote innovative and efficient programs in the courts. The council is the policymaking body of the California courts. Funding for courts will be available beginning fiscal year 2016-17, and will support innovative programs in areas such as technology, collaborative courts, and family and juvenile courts.

Forensic Science: A Time of Transformation

The criminal justice community is currently looking at the role of forensic science and the certainty of evidence presented in the courtroom. A NIJ Journal article by Jim Dawson examines the issues around developing a whole theory and setting principles for forensic science. The article looks at how a shift in thinking can change how forensic science functions and how the broader legal community perceives it. Read the article here

Corrections Technology Resource Center (CTRC)

    May is National Drug Court Month. Read the message from Denise O’Donnell Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, on the value of drug courts and BJA’s ongoing support of them.

    April 29, 2016

This online resource is dedicated to providing public-sector agencies with information regarding a wide variety of technologies used in correctional settings. Members can gain access to a repository of documents and publications as well as a forum that can be used to communicate directly with each other to discuss areas of common concern. This site is strictly for active, public-sector criminal justice professionals and the intent is to provide a secure environment for sharing information and exchanging ideas.

Find it here:

10 Essential Elements for Court Security

    April 29, 2016

Read the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators CCJ/COSCA Court Security Handbook: Ten Essential Elements for Court Security and Emergency Preparedness. It covers plans for courtroom safety and security planning, emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, threat assessment, security equipment and more.

Nevada Awards $106,500 for Court Security and Technology Needs

    April 29, 2016

The Nevada Supreme Court awarded $106,500 in grant money to be used in the state to upgrade audiovisual systems and courthouse security improvements. The money comes through the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
Link to Nevada’s Supreme Court Press Release

NIJ's Court Research Portfolio

    April 29, 2016

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsors research on courtroom security technologies and forensic science that supports criminal case processing. See NIJ’s Courts Research Portfolio, information on technology related to courts, and other resources.

New Releases in the field of Law Enforcement Technology

California Shares Cybercrime Services With Local Law Enforcement
The California Cyber Crime Center (C4) is now serving police departments in cities and counties throughout the state. C4 will serve 46 of California’s 58 counties. The state is also continuing its programs to train law enforcement in the detection and assessment of digital crime.

Virginia Law Enforcement Get Cell Phones to Help Domestic Violence Victims
Verizon Wireless is loaning 500 cell phones to Virginia police officers through a partnership with the Virginia Attorney General’s office. The officers use the phones to connect individuals perceived to be at risk of domestic violence with needed services. Read more here.

New Simulator Designed To Improve Officer Training, Safety
As part of a revamp of the Denver Police Department’s training program, the city has a 300-degree training simulator that can be customized with local settings to allow officers to practice making split-second decisions about use of force, verbal de-escalation and less-lethal options.

“Premise Alerts” Prepare First Responders for Special Situations
Residents of Cambria County, Pa., may submit “premise alert” forms to the county’s Department of Emergency Services. Information from the forms will be tied to their addresses and will alert fire, police and EMS personnel that an individual with special needs – such as autism, Alzheimer’s, poor articulation due to stroke, hearing loss, lack of knowledge of spoken English, etc. – lives at that address.

FBI Releases Materials Explaining the N-DEx System
The FBI has produced a fact sheet and a brochure on its N-DEx system, a database from thousands of law enforcement and criminal just data sources, available at no cost to agencies. Search hundreds of millions of records and/or participate by sharing your own data. Find the fact sheet here: and the brochure here:

NYPD Will Add Cameras to Prisoner Transport Vans
NYPD plans to retrofit all 110 prisoner transport vans already in service with security cameras, at a cost of $2,100; new vans coming online will also carry the equipment. Read the story here.

Miami-Dade High School Preparing Students for Law Enforcement Careers
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, near the Miami Police Department, offers an AA degree and certification that allows them to enroll in a four-year institution of higher learning or attend a police academy. Read the story here.

The FBI released, Crime in the United States 2015, an annual compilation of crimes reported to its Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). The report indicates an increase in violent crime and a decrease property crime. Find info on the report here.

GA Police Officer Saved by Wearing Body Armor
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of a patrol officer in Jackson overnight Tuesday. Officer Sherry Hall approached a man sitting on the shoulder of a road to see if he needed assistance; the man became argumentative and then fired a shot at her, authorities said. Hall sustained a deep bruise in the abdomen but the bullet was stopped by her ballistic-resistant vest.

APD Receives Grant to Help With DNA Lab Backlog
Austin police will use a $200,000 grant from NIJ to help reduce the backlog of DNA testing of evidence, including sexual assault kits.

City Approves Money for New Crime Lab Technology
The Albuquerque Police Department will be getting equipment and training for a local system of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). The city council approved $140,000 for the equipment. Managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, NIBIN is a database which allows for comparison of ballistic evidence.

Cincinnati Police Deploy First Officer Body Cameras
Cincinnati has begun rollout of body-worn cameras for police officers. Officials expect to distribute 700 cameras by the end of the year. City officials have said officers don’t have to tell citizens that they’re being recorded. Officers will be required to activate the cameras in various emergency situations.

Eaton County Sheriff Deputies Now Using Mobile Fingerprint Scanners
A Michigan sheriff’s office is using mobile fingerprint scanners to accelerate identification of wanted persons. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office is among the first law enforcement agencies in mid-Michigan to implement the scanners, which are linked to the police in-car computers that transmit a scanned fingerprint to the Michigan Automated Fingerprint Identification System and to the FBI National Fingerprint database. In minutes, deputies can know if there is a record on file which positively identifies the person.

Police Use App to Locate Stolen Phones Before Arresting Suspects
Police in Buffalo, N.Y., recently used the “Find iPhone” app to help apprehend three persons suspected of an armed robbery that included theft of two cellphones. The three were charged with numerous offenses, including armed robbery.

Simulator Mimics Stressful Calls Police May Get
The police department in Cape May, N.J., is addressing the stressful situations faced by today’s law enforcement officers by implementing the latest in virtual reality technology. The equipment, consisting of a freeware advanced audio coder (FAAC) and the Milo firearms simulator, allow trainers at the agency’s training academy to take an officer from the moment of receiving a call in a patrol car through the completion of an incident involving use-of-force decisions.

Personal Armor and Fit Assessment is a new publication to help law enforcement and corrections professionals determine how well body armor fits. It provides a checklist for officers to rate proper coverage and ease of motion among other issues regarding body armor. Find the checklist here.

New Fact Sheet on Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels
NIJ has issued a new fact sheet for law enforcement and corrections professionals who are looking for detailed information on the levels of protection provided by NIJ compliant ballistic body armor. The publication explains existing levels of protection and what compliant products are tested against. Find the downloadable fact sheet here.

Falmouth Police Procure State-of-the-Art Vessel
The Falmouth, Maine police department purchased a new harbor  patrol boat with advanced technology. The $327,000 vessel was purchased in part with a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The 27-foot boat’s advanced technology systems include a device that can pick up heat signatures of people in the water; an advanced navigation system and automatic course plotter that maps out hazards; a multi-unit communication system to connect with other agencies, and a radar system that can help in recovery missions. Read more here.

Harrisburg Police Start Database of Private Video Systems to Help Solve Crimes  
Police in Harrisburg, Pa., are compiling a database of businesses and residences with video surveillance systems. The database is designed to help direct detectives to camera systems near where a crime is reported. Registering a video system with the police if voluntary. Police will contact owners of video systems if they need help with a crime. Read more here.

Cincinnati Police Body Camera Program Starts August 1
The Cincinnati Police Department will begin deploying body worn cameras on August 1. The city will initially have about 700 cameras for patrol officers, and is seeking funding for 400 more devices. The department has established guidelines for using the cameras. Read more here.

NIST Will Hold Free Trace Evidence Data Workshop
On July 19-20, 2016, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold a free workshop to gather feedback from the practitioners and researchers in the forensic science community on further improving access and expanding the development of datasets useful for trace forensic evidence.
Attendees will discuss:

  • The Importance of Reference Data in Trace Evidence Analysis
  • What Does the Future Hold for Trace Evidence Analysis
  • Research Needs in Trace Evidence Analysis
  • Statistical Considerations in The Development of Trace Evidence Databases
  • Private Sector Insights on Database Development

Register here.

LAPD Enlisting 100 BMW i3 Electric Cars
The Los Angeles Police Department plans to add 100 BMW i3 electric cars to its fleet, for use in non-emergency and community outreach situations. The battery-powered i3 gets 81 miles per charge, and BMW says in 2017 that will increase to 114 miles. The total price tag is estimated at $1.4 million, less expensive than conventional models considered by LAPD. Article

The City Of Houston Will Add Radiation Detection to Crime Fighting Tools
The City of Houston has received a five-year, $30 million grant for equipment to detect radioactive material, including 5,000 to 6,000 radiation detectors to be issued to first responders and equipment for 15 to 20 vehicles, including cars, boats and aircraft. Houston is the fourth city to receive grant money under the Securing the Cities initiative. Other participants are New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Read more here: Article

National Police Week 2016: Honoring and Remembering our Fallen Law Enforcement Officers
Again this year, communities across the United States will come together during National Police Week—May 15-21—to honor and remember those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers they left behind.

This year, the names of 252 officers killed in the line of duty are being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. These 252 officers include 123 officers who were killed during 2015, plus 129 officers who died in previous years but whose stories of sacrifice had been lost to history until now.

The names of all 252 fallen officers nationwide were formally dedicated during the 28th  Annual Candlelight Vigil on the evening of May 13, 2016.  The Candlelight Vigil is one of many commemorative events taking place in the nation’s capital during National Police Week 2016. The national observance is organized by a group of organizations led by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), Concerns of Police Survivors, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary.

On May 15th each year, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary host a ceremony on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol to honor fallen law enforcement officers and their families.

In tribute to American law enforcement officers and at the request of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Public Law 103-322 designates May 15th National Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is one of only two days each year during which government agencies, businesses and residents are to fly their U.S. flags at half staff.

For more information about National Police Week, please visit

NIJ’s New JTIC Is the Go-To Technology Resource for Criminal Justice Professionals

    May 2, 2016

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today introduced the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC). As a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, the new JTIC is a part of NIJ’s comprehensive strategy to more effectively serve the changing information-gathering needs of key decision makers in law enforcement, courts and corrections agencies.

JTIC is the go-to source for those who make decisions for criminal justice agencies regarding the evaluation, selection and purchase of equipment and technology. As a comprehensive resource portal for professionals to gather information on innovations in technology that are transforming the criminal justice system, JTIC is designed to provide these decision makers with timely, relevant and unbiased information they need to select and acquire equipment that has been evaluated and proven to be effective and safe.

“JTIC can be accessed through familiar avenues such as JUSTNET, JUSTNET-News and e-TechBeat,” said JTIC’s Director, Lance Miller. “In addition, the Compliance Testing Program will be a key component of JTIC.  Agencies will also find up-to-date information about current and pending NIJ standards and research.” 

Through JTIC, NIJ will upgrade its ability to communicate policies and disseminate information to those who enhance public safety in communities across the country. “The center will make improvements to online products, videos and printed materials to reflect NIJ’s ongoing commitment to providing cutting-edge research results and information on technology,” said Miller.

For more information on JTIC, go to

BJA Body-worn Camera Toolkit Updates

    April 29, 2016

The Bureau of Justice Assistance has announced enhancements to its Body-Worn Camera Toolkit, an online resource for law enforcement professionals interested in planning and implementing a body-worn camera program. This toolkit consolidates and translates the growing body of knowledge about BWC programs and technology. See the updates to the RSS Feed, announcements, the podcast page and the video gallery.

Tampa Police Officer Saved by Ballistic Vest

    April 29, 2016

Investigators says that Tampa police Officer Jose Rodriguez was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest on March 26, when a reported altercation outside the Hyatt Place Hotel turned into a gunfight. Rodriguez was shot in the upper chest when one of the two men involved in the altercation opened fire on the officer. Both unidentified suspects were fatally shot at the scene.

Protect Your School with This New App

    April 29, 2016

SROs: Conduct a safety assessment of your campus, inside and out. Request a copy of NLECTC’s School Safe app. It’s free, but limited to qualified SROs and school administrators. Find info here.