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Public Safety

An article published by the Baltimore Sun earlier this year highlights how locking young people up will not result in less crime. New legislation and initiatives are being created in the hopes of addressing crime and violence in Baltimore. The crime rates among youth are due to many of them living in poverty conditions and having experienced trauma. These factors are hard ones to deal with when it comes to addressing crime rates and violence. A program was created named the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success that successfully looks at coordinating with city and community partners to address youth crime. The office launched BmoreLive to provide meaningful and entertaining programming for youth to enhance public safety and keep them occupied off the streets.

This programming helped keep crime rates down in juveniles and has shown to be effective. With identifying gaps in services and partnering with community actors, the BmoreLive is working to reduce youth crime and promoting better youth development. A punitive system is not helpful when fighting against crime in youth. Incarcerating youth does not teach them right from wrong when it comes to crime and does reduce their mentality surrounding the issue. When a child is incarcerated at a young age, it is very likely that they will commit another crime and end up in prison as an adult. Further, locking children up can lead to suffrage from trauma sustained in prison or mental health issues.

Because of these issues surrounding young incarceration, policy-makers are investing in more community-based services and programs that work on reducing incarceration and recidivism in youth populations. Putting juveniles behind bars does not solve public safety issues and does not result in less crime. Prevention efforts and justice reform for youth is necessary when it comes to keeping them occupied and committing less crime.  

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Public Safety

It is no secret that the prison system is harsh and rigorous for both staff and inmates. Many inmates struggle with having access to care and resources when imprisoned. The Crime Report published an article about these difficulties and how dozens of prisons, including ones in Louisiana, Connecticut, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, are facing legal charges and being targeted in COVID-19 civil rights lawsuits.

Inmates tell their stories of how they were denied access to medical services and resources when sick or at-risk of contracting COVID-19. Prison staff, as well as inmates, struggle with COVID-19 procedures. There are shortages and difficulties when it comes to having enough staff to run facilities due to COVID-19 protocols. Inmates and staff feel wronged and are fighting back against the violations they have suffered while incarcerated and working for the prison systems. The lawsuits highlight that correctional authorities’ response to COVID-19 has been defined by inaction and resulted in consequences in the health and well-being of staff and inmates. Many individuals are seeking the release of inmates who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 to help reduce the death toll that has been spreading through facilities.

As of July 21st, approximately 70,700 individuals behind bars have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 700 have passed away, with these numbers continuing to rise. The well-being and safety of officers and inmates should be a priority. In order to help mitigate the spread and keep people safe, de-incarceration and community supervision has been the go to. Innovative solutions need to be considered in order to stop the spread and keep lawsuits at bay.

TRACKtech supports the health and well-being of officers and their clients in these hard times. With our solutions, probation and parole officers can remotely check-in with individuals through biometric identification and video conferencing. This allows both to stay at home and keep social distancing protocols while still being able to monitor the individual through geofencing built in to our TRACKphone. TRACkphone also provides resources and programs for rehabilitation and to help individuals feel at ease after being incarcerated. It is an adjustment into the society, especially during COVID-19. Community supervision is becoming the new norm as it reduces populations at risk of contracting COVID-19 in facilities and the costs of incarceration. Mobile supervision is one solution to the problems that keep arising in the criminal justice industry and the safety measures needed to take to mitigate COVID-19.

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Public Safety

Times Union recently published an article regarding how the Albany Sheriff’s office is going to help the homeless population. As jail populations have decreased, the Albany County Sheriff’s department is working on creating a new solution to help end homelessness. The program is set to be called the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Project and will use an empty tier in one of the jail’s buildings as a transitional housing and one-stop resource for those struggling to find a job, suffering from addiction or mental health issues and living on the streets. The programs for these struggling populations are centered around programs already being implemented in the jail that are offered to inmates. Sheriff Craig Apple states “whatever we can do to release somebody who can be healthy and productive back in the community, [is] our goal here.” They also are focusing on reducing recidivism rates and have already seen a drop as people are not coming back to jail. 

The jail population has been decreasing. In July, there were only 431 inmates , compared to the 1,000 it is able to house. This Albany jail is not the only one seeing a decrease in inmate populations, as the state’s total population in county jails fell over 13% from July 2018 to July 2019. Due to these new programs and the sheriff’s office working on rehabilitating inmates instead of employing a punitive approach, the jail is changing its name, to encompass its new mission; the Albany County Corrections and Rehabilitative Services Center. The jail is partnering with other centers including St. Peter’s Hospital, the Homeless and Traveler’s Aid Society, CDTA and other groups to create the program and build services. 

The homeless program is still in the works and Apple said they are trying to figure out their source of funding for food and housing. The facility will have rules similar to those of shelters and the staff will be civilians from nonprofits and the sheriff’s department. This saves the cost and limited resources of staffing correctional officers in the facility and gearing the workers towards what the population being housed in the facility will need. Apple is hopeful that this new facility and programs will help the homeless population get back on their feet and become functioning members of society again. 

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