The Treatment of Women in Prison in the 19th Century

Woking Convict Invalid Prison: a woman prisoner in solitary confinement / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons Prison officers tried to regulate women’s minds and bodies, and maintain a new disciplinary routine in the second half of the 1800s. Many female inmates resisted.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Rachel Bennett, Dr. Catherine Cox, and Dr. Hilary Marland /[…]

From Blue Lobsters to Friendly Giants: Visual Representations of the Police, 1840–1880

Gloucestershire Constabulary at Northleach 1850s Pictures of Victorian policemen contain varied, conflicting and interacting strands of meaning. By Jane M. Card / 08.27.2018 Historian Introduction Images from the past are never to be taken at face value since, made according to contemporary visual conventions and artistic tastes, they reflect not objective reality but contemporary opinions[…]

A Sociological Understanding of Deviance, Social Control, and Crime

Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.15.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief 1 – Deviance 1.1 – Introduction Merton’s Social Strain Theory: This diagram depicts Robert K. Merton’s Social Strain Theory. Deviance, in a sociological context, describes actions or behaviors that violate informal social norms or formally-enacted rules. Among those who study social norms and their relation[…]

DNA Dragnet: In Some Cities, Police Go From Stop-and-Frisk to Stop-and-Spit

Frederick Harran is the public safety director of the Bensalem Township Police Department in Pennsylvania, which has used the DNA program to solve burglaries.  “This has probably been the greatest innovation in local law enforcement since the bulletproof vest,” he said.  / Greg Kahn, special to ProPublica Police in Florida and other states are building[…]

Obama Administration Ending Federal Private Prison Contracts

The LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana, a for-profit prison operated by the GEO Group. | Immigration Detention Justice Center By C.J. Atkins / 08.18.2016 Private, for-profit prison companies are having a rough time on Wall Street today after a new memo from Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates was released that instructs federal officials not[…]

Busted: False Positive Roadside Drug Tests Landing Thousands in Jail

Tens of thousands of people every year are sent to jail based on the results of a $2 roadside drug test. Widespread evidence shows that these tests routinely produce false positives. Why are police departments and prosecutors still using them? Graphics by Fathom  |  Photography by Todd Heisler, The New York Times Story Co-Published with the[…]

iCensor: Apple Patents Remote ‘Kill Switch’ for iPhone Cameras

“Free speech rules don’t apply to Silicon Valley,” observes a civil liberties advocacy group. (Photo: Ian Higgins/flickr/cc) Technology could allow police and government forces to stop citizens from recording abuses of force By Nika Knight / 06.30.2016 Owning an iPhone could someday mean being blocked from recording anything that someone in power doesn’t want you[…]

Corroding Civil Liberties, Supreme Court Codifies Unlawful Police Stops

The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that evidence collected during an illegal stop can be used in court if the search was conducted after the discovery of an arrest warrant. (Photo: Mark Fischer/flickr/cc) “This case tells everyone…that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in[…]

U.S. Chamber Works Behind the Scenes to Gut Whistleblower Protections

By Jessica Mason / 04.30.2016 Efforts to gut the federal False Claims Act backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce got a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. The federal push builds on previous back-door Chamber efforts through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to discourage states from pursuing fraud claims. The False Claims Act (FCA)[…]

Trial and Error: Report Says Prosecutors Rarely Pay Price for Mistakes and Misconduct

Photo Scott Hirko/Getty Images, Mosaic David Sleight/ProPublica By Joaquin Sapien (ProPublica) / 03.29.2016:   The Innocence Project released a report Tuesday alleging that prosecutors across the country are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit other forms of misconduct that land innocent people in prison. The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal group that[…]