Too Many People Locked Up Say Americans In New Survey, Antonio Goes to D.C. for Gangs, Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking…and MoreApril 3rd, 2012 by Celeste Fremon
EDITOR’S NOTE: Starting today, the very smart and talented Taylor Walker is helping me gather stories. Eventually Taylor will be doing a story-gathering and commentary section of her own. But right now, she’s helping me curate and write these multi-story posts. More about—and from—Taylor Walker soon.
NEARLY 50 PERCENT OF AMERICANS SAY THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE IN PRISON & WE COULD LET 20 PERCENT OF ‘EM OUT….SAYS NEW PEW STUDY
The Pew Center on the States has the results of a new survey out that measures attitudes by Americans about who we should incarcerate and for how long.
Turns out that the majority of Americans think that there are “more effective, less expensive alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders and expanding those alternatives is the best way to reduce the crime rate.”
There’s lots more and it’s quite interesting. So check out the summary of the rest of the report here.
ANTONIO GOES LOOKING FOR GANG PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION $$ IN D.C.
The LA Times reports that mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was in Washington DC this week for a gang-violence reduction summit meeting with leaders from Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, San Jose and Salinas.
Sunday, he also met with Attorney General Eric Holder, to hit up Holder for some federal money to help to fund LA’s GRYD programs (Gang Reduction and Youth Development), These were the programs that were gathered under the mayor’s umbrella in 2007, and got up and running in 2009.
Last year, the combined prevention and intervention GRYD programs were budgeted at $26 million, made up of federal, state and local monies. Villaraigosa wants the feds to come across with a good chunk of those millions.
Hopefully he’ll get the money he/we need. I just wish that when the mayor made his pitch he didn’t have to try to attribute LA’s drop in gang crime to GRYD, since even his own evaluators from the Urban Institute say otherwise (namely since the parts of Los Angeles that aren’t served by GRYD have had exactly the same drop).
Yeah, yeah. Picky, I know.
ACLU ISSUES REPORT SHOWING HOW MANY POLICE DEPARTMENTS ARE TRACKING US THROUGH OUR CELL PHONES WITHOUT ANYTHING PESKY LIKE, SAY, A WARRANT
A huge pile of information gathered by the ACLU on law enforcement cell phone tracking protocols was released to the New York Times on Saturday. The report returned results that differed considerably between about 200 agencies that agreed to provide information about how they were using our cell phones to track us. Departments across the U.S. are grappling with the lack of concrete boundaries set in place for officers in regard to cell phone tracking. While some agencies state that they are only using tracking without a warrant in life-threatening situations (and sometimes it does save lives), others are using it when they damn please, including in California where state prosecutors advised local police departments on ways to get carriers to “clone” a phone and download text messages while it is turned off.
(About that text downloading function, unreasonable search and seizure anyone? Seriously, how in the world is that not a 4th Amendment violation?)
In order to get the information, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 public records requests with state and local law enforcement agencies to ask about their policies, procedures and practices for tracking cell phones.
This is from the ACLU’s statement:
What we have learned is disturbing. While virtually all of the over 200 police departments that responded to our request said they track cell phones, only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so. While that result is of great concern, it also shows that a warrant requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy.
They’ve got a point. And, given this recent SCOTUS decision, I think the SUPREMES may think so too.
LGBTQ BOX TO CHECK MAY SHOW UP IN CAL STATE COLLEGE APS…SO IS THIS A GOOD IDEA? BAD IDEA? MANY ARE NOT SURE
Within the next year, students may see optional sexual orientation check-boxes on their application forms for California state colleges. While the purpose may be to gauge the size of the LGBTQ community on campus, and thus offer better services, some fear it may be an invasion of privacy or that the information may be improperly used or wrongly divulged. The LA Times reports.