PBUS News Update
Dec. 20, 2012

Sources: Pretrial Release program reportedly being cut in Broward
JAABlog
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel's November election immediately set off alarm bells in courthouse circles regarding the highly successful Pretrial Release program. Powerful bondsmen were early supporters of Israel, and their distaste for the program has been aired everywhere from the courthouse cafe to the County Commission. Early feedback after the election was positive, namely "not to worry" about Pretrial, but now, JAABlog is hearing something entirely different. Notices reportedly have been sent out notifying pretrial's top brass that their services no longer will be required after Jan. 8. More

Here's 2 of the top 10 reasons to attend the 2013 PBUS Conference
Professional Bail Agents of the United States
No. 10 — Talk to friends and colleagues to get up-to-date on the expansion of government-funded pretrial services programs across the country and attend a training session on how to seek help from your legislators.

No. 9 — Win fabulous prizes — Journey to Atlantis raffle and the For Women Only auction — you can't win if you don't buy.

Early-bird registration ends soon. Click here to register NOW and save $100. Get your room reservation by clicking here.More

Police chiefs mull possible court drug program as sentencing alternative
Sussex Sun
Four Lake Country, Wis., police chiefs will meet with representatives of Your Choice-Live to discuss whether a drug and alcohol abuse awareness and education programs might be used as a sentencing alternative in Lake Country Municipal Court for young offenders guilty of underage drinking, drunken driving, or other drug- and alcohol-related offenses. The police chiefs of Hartland, Oconomowoc, Summit and Oconomowoc Lake are members of the Operations Subcommittee of Lake Country Municipal Court.More

New Orleans' reform of pretrial detention, bail shows success, but budget cuts loom
The Christian Science Monitor via Alaska Dispatch
Before Hurricane Katrina, the sprawling Orleans Parish Prison complex had 7,524 beds — on average 6,500 of them occupied each day — making it the ninth-largest jail in the nation, and far out of proportion to the city's size. But the jail's 12 buildings were heavily damaged by the storm and floodwaters, so it became a prime target of those who believed the entire justice system could be reinvented along with the jail. The philosophy behind the reforms is to arrest fewer people and to keep fewer prisoners after they are arrested. One problem feeding jail overcrowding is the fact that most jail inmates are there for petty offenses and, though not high safety risks, remain there because they are so impoverished that they cannot afford even the small sums of bail that have been set for them.More

Next-generation handcuffs deliver electric shocks, drugs to detainees
Digital Trends
Definitely an interesting, if not controversial, invention for the field of law enforcement, a new set of handcuffs delivers electric shocks like a Taser. Recently covered in detail on Patent Bolt, a patent application for an advanced set of handcuffs was published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark office in late November. Filed by a group called Scottsdale Inventions during late 2010, technology that could potentially go into the handcuff design includes an accelerometer, location sensing device, microphone, camera and a biometric sensor to measure a detainee's physical state. However, the group also has designed the handcuffs to house electrodes that would deliver an electric shock to a detainee.More

California law enforcement moves to buy drones, draws controversy
Ars Technica
Since Congress passed legislation in February ordering the Federal Aviation Administration to fast-track the approval of unmanned aerial vehicles — more colloquially known as drones — for use by law enforcement agencies, police and sheriff departments across the country have been scrambling to purchase the smaller, unarmed cousins of the Predator and Reaper drones which carry out daily sorties over Afghanistan, Yemen, and other theaters of operation. Alameda County in California has become one of the central battlegrounds over the introduction of drones to domestic police work. Were Alameda County to purchase a drone, it would set a precedent in California, which long has been an innovator in law enforcement tactics: from SWAT teams (pioneered in Delano and Los Angeles) to anti-gang tactics such as civil injunctions. More

Caltech engineers develop inexpensive 'X-ray' technology to see through solid materials
Digital Trends
A pair of Caltech engineers took an ordinary microchip and tweaked it so it can see through solid materials. These X-ray-like chips are inexpensive and can be installed on phones or tablets. Ali Hajimiri and Kaushik Sengupta, a duo of electrical engineers at the California Institute of Technology, have developed silicon microchips that radiate high-frequency electromagnetic waves called terahertz (THz) waves. These waves can pass through solid materials and send back detailed images of what lies behind them. Hajimiri and Sengupta believe their technology could be used in many areas, such as by law enforcement to detect explosives and other threats. More

Multnomah County, Ore., jails report huge increase in early releases
The Oregonian
More than 900 inmates have been let out of Oregon's Multnomah County jails this year because of crowding, eight times the number released in the past two years combined, sheriff's officials said. Inmates are released when the jails reach 95 percent capacity to make room for people facing more serious charges. The astounding spike this year — 908 releases to date, up from 82 in 2011 and 25 in 2010 — has drawn the attention of public safety leaders. A grand jury report on Multnomah County corrections released also raised alarm about emergency releases. The increase in emergency releases should "not be viewed as an anomaly, but rather as a serious upward trend," the grand jury report said. More

New Zealand Police: Electronic monitoring effective, despite absconders
Otago Daily Times
Police in New Zealand have expressed confidence in their use of ankle bracelets, despite figures revealing 13 percent of defendants have escaped electronic monitoring since the scheme was introduced in 2006. Figures released under the Official Information Act show 255 reports of defendants absconding, among the 1839 subject to electronic monitoring since 2006-2007. The highest number of incidents in a financial year was the 79 recorded in 2011-2012.More

Opinion: Home detention a viable alternative that can save money, ease crowding
The Daily Times
There is a certain tension in America between the desire to see justice done and a sense that the criminal justice system doesn’t always accomplish that goal. And some people have a nagging feeling that people who are incarcerated may be living better than some honest, law-abiding citizens. But when the discussion turns to costs, well, there's something that needs to be addressed. We all know that "throwing the bums in jail" is not always the best answer. Thanks to technology, there is an alternative that, while not appropriate for all or even for many people convicted of a crime, it can ease the burden on taxpayers, society and the budget. It's called home detention, and it's made practical by electronic monitoring technology and GPS.More

Send important dates for PBUS News Update
Professional Bail Agents of the United States
For any state bail association that would like timely and important dates included in the PBUS News Update, please send the information to Elizabeth Zavala, content editor, at ezavala@multibriefs.com.More