Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms
Source: Pew Center on the States
Over the past 40 years, criminal justice policy in the U.S. was shaped by the belief that the best way to protect the public was to put more people in prison. Offenders, the reasoning went, should spend longer and longer time behind bars.
Consequently, offenders have been spending more time in prison. According to a new study by Pew’s Public Safety Performance Project, the length of time served in prison has increased markedly over the last two decades. Prisoners released in 2009 served an average of nine additional months in custody, or 36 percent longer, than offenders released in 1990.
Those extended prison sentences came at a price: prisoners released from incarceration in 2009 cost states $23,300 per offender–or a total of over $10 billion nationwide. More than half of that amount was for non-violent offenders.
The report, Time Served: The High Cost, Low Return of Longer Prison Terms, also found that time served for drug offenses and violent offenses grew at nearly the same pace from 1990 to 2009. Drug offenders served 36 percent longer in 2009 than those released in 1990, while violent offenders served 37 percent longer. Time served for inmates convicted of property crimes increased by 24 percent.
Almost all states increased length of stay over the last two decades, though that varied widely from state to state. In Florida, for example, where time served rose most rapidly, prison terms grew by 166 percent and cost an extra $1.4 billion in 2009.
2011 Report Details Consumer Bankruptcy Filings
Source: U.S. Courts
A 2011 statistical report on debtors with primarily consumer debt filing for bankruptcy shows an 11 percent drop in case filings, a 23 percent drop in filer assets, 25 percent drop in filer liabilities and a 28 percent incidence of repeat filers.
The report, required by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), includes statistics on debtors who are individuals seeking debt relief under chapters 7, 11, and 13. It is compiled by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Customs action to tackle fakes – Frequently Asked Questions
Source: European Commission
What measures are in place at EU level to protect IPR?
Customs enforcement: in May 2011 the Commission proposed a new regulation that strengthens the provisions concerning the customs enforcement of IPR. This proposal was part of a comprehensive package of IPR measures aimed at modernising the legal framework in which IPR operate today (see IP 11/630, MEMO 11/327).
Patent protection: the Commission already launched proposals in April for a unitary patent protection under enhanced cooperation (see IP/11/470), so that innovators can protect their inventions at an affordable cost with a single patent covering the entire EU territory with minimum translation costs and without needing to validate that patent at a national level as they currently have to do. Today, obtaining a patent in Europe costs ten times more than one in the US. This situation discourages research, development and innovation, and undermines Europe’s competitiveness. Meanwhile, work continues on the creation of a unified and specialised patent court for the classical European patents and the future European patents with unitary effect. This would considerably reduce litigation costs and the time it takes to resolve patent disputes. It would also increase legal certainty for business. At the European Council, the issue of the seat of the central division of the patent court was finally agreed, but the terms of the informal trialogue agreement with the EP were unfortunately altered. The Commission hopes that a deal can finally be reached early in the autumn.
Trade marks: trade mark registration in the EU has been harmonised in Member States for almost 20 years and the Community trade mark was established 15 years ago. However, there is an increasing demand for more streamlined, effective and consistent registration systems. The Commission intends to present proposals in 2012 to modernise the trade mark system both at EU and national levels and adapt it to the internet era.
IPR violations: the Commission is set to intensify its efforts in this area. Firstly, the Commission has reinforced the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy, which it launched in 2009, by entrusting its tasks to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM). This allows the Observatory to benefit from OHIM’s intellectual property expertise and strong record of delivery in trademarks and designs. Secondly, there is an on-going assessment of the IPR Enforcement Directive (see IP/04/540), to help improve the current enforcement system in the EU. The Directive provides for civil law measures allowing right holders to enforce their intellectual property rights.
In addition to these measures, the Commission supports businesses in the protection and enforcement of their IPR: With projects like the Transatlantic IPR Portal or support offered directly to EU SMEs so they know about IPR challenges before they expand their business (China IPR SME Helpdesk, EU IPR Helpdesk).
The AIC undertook a literature review on single person police patrols both in Australia and internationally. This report examines challenges faced by first-response police officers when working alone and the impact this had on them, operational decisions to deploy single person patrols and how the community view this issue. It concludes that there has been limited research on single person patrols in policing and of the research findings available in the literature, results are mixed and updated research needs to be undertaken.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Presents findings, for a five-year period from 2006 to 2010, on the characteristics of crime victimizations that went unreported to police, according to data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. The characteristics examined in this report include the type of crime, whether it involved a weapon or injury, the victim-offender relationship, and demographic characteristics of the victim. For each of the characteristics examined, the report also details victims’ rationale for not reporting to the police, including beliefs that the police would not or could not help, that the crime was not important enough to report, or fear of reprisal or getting the offender into trouble. The report also examines trends from 1994 to 2010 in the types of crime not reported to the police and the reasons victimizations went unreported.
Highlights include the following:
- From 1994 to 2010, the percentage of serious violent crime—rape or sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault—that was not reported to police declined from 50% to 42%.
- From 2006 to 2010, the highest percentages of unreported crime were among household theft (67%) and rape or sexual assault (65%) victimizations, while the lowest percentage was among motor vehicle theft (17%) victimizations.
- From 2006 to 2010, a greater percentage of victimizations perpetrated by someone the victim knew well (62%) went unreported to police, compared to victimizations committed by a stranger (51%).
Relief from Deportation: Demographic Profile of the DREAMers Potentially Eligible under the Deferred Action Policy
Source: Migration Policy Institute
As many as 1.76 million unauthorized immigrants under the age of 31 who were brought to the United States as children could gain a two-year grant of relief from deportation, according to updated Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that take into account the more detailed eligibility guidelines outlined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on August 3, 2012.
The estimates are up from the 1.39 million figure that MPI released on June 15 — reflecting the updated DHS guidelines that youth lacking a high school or GED degree would be eligible to apply for deferred action as long as they have re-enrolled by the date of their application. MPI estimates 350,000 unauthorized young adult immigrants (ages 16 and older) without a high school degree or GED could potentially be eligible for relief from deportation if they meet the enrollment criteria.
To determine if state laws regulating nutrition content of foods and beverages sold outside of federal school meal programs (“competitive foods”) are associated with lower adolescent weight gain.
The Westlaw legal database identified state competitive food laws that were scored by using the Classification of Laws Associated with School Students criteria. States were classified as having strong, weak, or no competitive food laws in 2003 and 2006 based on law strength and comprehensiveness. Objective height and weight data were obtained from 6300 students in 40 states in fifth and eighth grade (2004 and 2007, respectively) within the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Class. General linear models estimated the association between baseline state laws (2003) and within-student changes in BMI, overweight status, and obesity status. Fixed-effect models estimated the association between law changes during follow-up (2003–2006) and within-student changes in BMI and weight status.
Students exposed to strong laws at baseline gained, on average, 0.25 fewer BMI units (95% confidence interval: −0.54, 0.03) and were less likely to remain overweight or obese over time than students in states with no laws. Students also gained fewer BMI units if exposed to consistently strong laws throughout follow-up (β = −0.44, 95% confidence interval: −0.71, −0.18). Conversely, students exposed to weaker laws in 2006 than 2003 had similar BMI gain as those not exposed in either year.
Laws that regulate competitive food nutrition content may reduce adolescent BMI change if they are comprehensive, contain strong language, and are enacted across grade levels.
CBO — Letter to the Honorable John Boehner providing an estimate for H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act
Letter to the Honorable John Boehner providing an estimate for H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act
Source: Congressional Budget Office
CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have estimated the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, as passed by the House of Representatives on July 11, 2012. H.R. 6079 would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the exception of one subsection that has no budgetary effect. This estimate reflects the spending and revenue projections in CBO’s March 2012 baseline as adjusted to take into account the effects of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the ACA.
For various reasons discussed in the report, the estimated budgetary effects of repealing the ACA by enacting H.R. 6079 are close to, but not equivalent to, an estimate of the budgetary effects of the ACA with the signs reversed.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Counternarcotics Assistance: U.S. Agencies Have Allotted Billions in Andean Countries, but DOD Should Improve Its Reporting of Results. GAO-12-824, July 10.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592244.pdf
2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: More States Counting Third Party Maintenance of Effort Spending. GAO-12-929R, July 23.
Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen (PDF)
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation – and it can take time, money, and patience to resolve. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, prepared this guide to help you repair the damage that identity theft can cause, and reduce the risk of identity theft happening to you.
If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage. Setting things straight involves some work. This guide has tips, worksheets, blank forms, and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process. It covers:
- what identity theft victims must do immediately
- what problems may crop up
- how you can reduce your risk of identity theft
Public Opinion on Sentencing and Corrections Policy in America (PDF)
Source: Pew Center on the States
1. American voters believe too many people are in prison and the nation spends too much on imprisonment.
2. Voters overwhelmingly support a variety of policy changes that shift non-violent offenders from prison to more effective, less expensive alternatives.
3. Support for sentencing and corrections reforms (including reduced prison terms) is strong across political parties, regions, age, gender, and racial/ethnic groups.
State Legislatures Enact 206 Immigration Related Bills and Resolutions in First Half of 2012 – Down 20 % From Same Period Last Year
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures
Lawmakers in 41 states enacted 114 bills and adopted 92 resolutions dealing with immigration in the first half of 2012. The immigration activity is detailed in a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Immigrant Policy Project released Monday at the NCSL Legislative Summit.
This marks a decrease of 20 percent from the 257 laws and resolutions enacted in the first half of 2011. Law enforcement and identification/driver’s licenses remained the leading issues addressed by state legislatures, comprising 18 percent and 11 percent respectively, of all enacted laws on immigration.
Measuring and Fingerprinting Click-Spam in Ad Networks
Source: Microsoft Research
Advertising plays a vital role in supporting free websites and smartphone apps. Click-spam, i.e., fraudulent or invalid clicks on online ads where the user has no actual interest in the advertiser’s site, results in advertising revenue being misappropriated by click-spammers. While ad networks take active measures to block click-spam today, the effectiveness of these measures is largely unknown. Moreover, advertisers and third parties have no way of independently estimating or defending against click-spam.
In this paper, we take the first systematic look at click-spam. We propose the first methodology for advertisers to independently measure click-spam rates on their ads. We also develop an automated methodology for ad networks to proactively detect different simultaneous click-spam attacks. We validate both methodologies using data from major ad networks. We then conduct a large-scale measurement study of click-spam across ten major ad networks and four types of ads. In the process, we identify and perform in-depth analysis on seven ongoing click-spam attacks not blocked by major ad networks at the time of this writing. Our findings highlight the severity of the click-spam problem, especially for mobile ads.
The LIBOR Scandal The Fix Is In—the Bank of England Did It!
Source: Levy Economics Institute at Bard College
As the results of the various official investigations spread, it becomes more and more apparent that a large majority of financial institutions engaged in fraudulent manipulation of the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to their own advantage, and that bank management and regulators were unable to effectively monitor the activity of institutions because they were too big to manage and too big to regulate. However, instead of drawing the obvious conclusion—that structural changes are needed to reduce banks to a size that can be effectively regulated, as proposed on numerous occasions by the Levy Economics Institute—discussion in the media and political circles has turned to whether the problem was the result of the failure of central bank officials and government regulators to respond to repeated suggestions of manipulation, and to stop the fraudulent behavior.
Just as the “hedging” losses at JPMorgan Chase have been characterized as the result of misbehavior on the part of some misguided individual traders, leaving top bank management without culpability, politicians and the media are now questioning whether government officials condoned, or even encouraged, manipulation of the LIBOR rate, virtually ignoring the banks’ blatant abuse of principles of good banking practice. Just as in the case of JPMorgan, the only response has been to remove the responsible individuals, rather than questioning the structure and size of the financial institutions that made managing and policing this activity so difficult. Again, the rotten apples have been removed without anyone noticing that it is the barrel that is the cause of the problem. But in the current scandal, the ad hominem culpability has been extended to central bank officials in the UK and the United States.
Source: U.S. Courts
Bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2012, totaled 1,311,602 petitions, 14 percent less than the 1,529,560 filed in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2011, according to statistics released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
How Does Medical Device Regulation Perform in the United States and the European Union? A Systematic Review
Policymakers and regulators in the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) are weighing reforms to their medical device approval and post-market surveillance systems. Data may be available that identify strengths and weakness of the approaches to medical device regulation in these settings.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review to find empirical studies evaluating medical device regulation in the US or EU. We searched Medline using two nested categories that included medical devices and glossary terms attributable to the US Food and Drug Administration and the EU, following PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews. We supplemented this search with a review of the US Government Accountability Office online database for reports on US Food and Drug Administration device regulation, consultations with local experts in the field, manual reference mining of selected articles, and Google searches using the same key terms used in the Medline search. We found studies of premarket evaluation and timing (n = 9), studies of device recalls (n = 8), and surveys of device manufacturers (n = 3). These studies provide evidence of quality problems in pre-market submissions in the US, provide conflicting views of device safety based largely on recall data, and relay perceptions of some industry leaders from self-surveys.
Few studies have quantitatively assessed medical device regulation in either the US or EU. Existing studies of US and EU device approval and post-market evaluation performance suggest that policy reforms are necessary for both systems, including improving classification of devices in the US and promoting transparency and post-market oversight in the EU. Assessment of regulatory performance in both settings is limited by lack of data on post-approval safety outcomes. Changes to these device approval and post-marketing systems must be accompanied by ongoing research to ensure that there is better assessment of what works in either setting.