INMATE-, INCIDENT-, AND FACILITY-LEVEL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH ESCAPES FROM CUSTODY AND VIOLENT OUTCOMES
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Introduction: Preventing escapes from custody is a critical function of prisons, jails, and the individuals who run these correctional facilities. Escapes are a popular topic in the news, among lawmakers, and in public discourse. Much of this interest stems from the widespread notion that escapees pose a serious threat to public safety, as well to the safety of correctional staff and law enforcement officers tasked with preventing and apprehending them. However, despite the importance of preventing escapes and minimizing violence, there has been very little empirical research on these issues in the past several decades. Extant research has also been limited in terms of its depth, breadth, and methodological rigor. Thus, the current dissertation seeks to address the following research questions: 1. What jail-level factors are related to escape-proneness? 2. What prison-level factors are related to escape-proneness? 3. What inmate-level characteristics are associated with escape behavior? 4. How often and at what point does violence occur during escapes? 5. What facility-level factors influence the likelihood of an escape being violent? 6. What incident-level variables influence the likelihood of an escape being violent? 7. What characteristics of the escapee influence the likelihood of an escape being violent? Methods: To address these research questions, this study explores the degree to which facility-, incident-, and inmate-level factors are associated with two overall outcomes: 1) escapes from custody and 2) violent escape outcomes. To accomplish this, a series of analyses were conducted using several different sources of data. Specifically, the first two analyses used data from the 2011 Annual Survey of Jails (n=366) to examine how jail-level variables impact the number of escapes and attempted escapes from jails, and from the 2005 Census of State and Federal Adult Correctional Facilities (n=1821) to examine how prison-level variables impact the number of escapes and the number of walkaways from prisons. The third analysis used the 2008 and 2009 iterations of the National Corrections Reporting Program (n=7,300) to test whether relevant inmate-level characteristics were associated with the likelihood of an individual being an escapee. The final set of analyses examined the degree to which facility-, inmate-, and inmate-level factors were able to predict four violent escape outcomes: violence at the breakout, in the community, during recapture, and overall. These analyses used data from the Correctional Incident Database, 2009 (n=610). Findings: Several jail-level variables--including rated capacity, ethnic heterogeneity, percent noncitizens, and privately operated--were significantly associated with the number of escapes and escape attempts from jails. There were also many prison-level variables associated with the number of escapes and the number of walkaways from a facility, including measures related to the facilities' administration and management (e.g., rated capacity, percent capacity, inmate-staff ratio, inmates from other authorities, court order, secure perimeter, security level, region), inmate populations (e.g., percent male, percent noncitizens), and treatment and programming options (e.g., percent on work assignment, percent on work release, alcohol or drug treatment, inmates permitted to leave). At the individual-level, information about inmates' demographics (e.g., age, sex, race), criminal histories (e.g., prior time in prison and jail, prior escape), and current sentence (offense type and counts, sentence length, percent of sentence served) were associated with individual escape behavior. Finally, findings indicate that violence is, overall, a relatively rare outcome in escape incidents, though when it does occur it is precipitated by certain situational factors. Incident-level factors were the best indicators of violence, including whether the escape occurred in secure custody, the location of the incident, and the start time of the escape. The classification of the facilities was also associated with violence (i.e., escapees from higher security prisons and jails were more likely to use violence than escapees from minimum security facilities). Inmate-level factors were the least important for understanding when an escape would result in a violent outcome, though some of the findings indicate that young, male escapees, who were in custody for a violent offense and had a history of escaping, were more likely to use violence during their escapes than other escapees. Discussion and Implications: These findings demonstrated that opportunity- and place-based theories of criminal behavior, such as the situational crime prevention and routine activities frameworks, are most useful for understanding when escapes are likely to occur and when they are likely to result in violence. For example, higher security prison facilities had fewer escapes than lower security prisons, but prisons that permitted inmates to leave the facility (e.g., to study, participate in a rehabilitative program, or work) had a greater number of walkaways. At the individual level, inmates who were on community release were much more likely to have been escapees than those who were not on community release. Finally, inmates who escaped during transport were more likely to use violence than those who escaped under other circumstances. Based on these findings, this dissertation provided several recommendations for policy and practice. For example, it was recommended that correctional administrators adopt strategies for preventing escapes that are rooted in the situational crime prevention framework. These might include modifying the environment and enhancing certain types of security features, but could also include providing counseling to inmates, allowing more home visits and furloughs, offering more programming in the prison, and protecting inmates when their safety is threatened. It was also recommended that administrators identify and implement best practices for situations in which violence is most likely to occur, such as during inmate transport. Finally, given that most escapes are nonviolent and relatively minor incidents, it was recommended that administrators consider expanding their practice of punishing escapees internally rather than charging them with a new crime that could potentially add years to their sentence. Conclusion: Though there are several substantive and methodological limitations to the current dissertation, this research contributes to the literature by: analyzing the impact of a range of facility-, incident-, and inmate-level factors on escapes from custody and violence; examining a broader range of escapes from across the country; using more recent data and more rigorous analyses; clarifying some of the contradicting and confusing findings from previous studies; and providing a thorough analysis of the amount, scope, and predictors of violence escape outcomes.
UV-VISIBLE MICROSCOPE SPECTROPHOTOMETRIC POLARIZATION AND DICHROISM WITH INCREASED DISCRIMINATION POWER IN FORENSIC ANALYSIS
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Microanalysis of transfer (Trace) evidence is the application of a microscope and microscopical techniques for the collection, observation, documentation, examination, identification, and discrimination of micrometer sized particles or domains. Microscope spectrophotometry is the union of microscopy and spectroscopy for microanalysis. Analytical microspectroscopy is the science of studying the emission, reflection, transmission, and absorption of electromagnetic radiation to determine the structure or chemical composition of microscopic-size materials. Microscope spectrophotometry instrument designs have evolved from monochromatic illumination which transmitted through the microscope and sample and then is detected by a photometer detector (photomultiplier tube) to systems in which broad-band (white light) illumination falls incident upon a sample followed by a non-scanning grating spectrometer equipped with a solid-state multi-element detector. Most of these small modern spectrometers are configured with either silicon based charged-couple device detectors (200-950 nm) or InGaAs based diode array detectors (850-2300 nm) with computerized data acquisition and signal processing being common. A focus of this research was to evaluate the performance characteristics of various modern forensic (UV-Vis) microscope photometer systems as well as review early model instrumental designs. An important focus of this research was to efficiently measure ultraviolet-visible spectra of microscopically small specimens for classification, differentiation, and possibly individualization. The first stage of the project consisted of the preparation of microscope slides containing neutral density filter reference materials, molecular fluorescence reference materials, and dichroic reference materials. Upon completion of these standard slide preparations analysis began with measurements in order to evaluate figures of merit for comparison of the instruments investigated. The figures of merit investigated included: 1) wavelength accuracy, 2) wavelength precision, 3) wavelength resolution stability, 4) photometric accuracy, 5) photometric precision, 6) photometric linearity, 7) photometric noise, and 8) short-term baseline stability. In addition, intrinsic instrument polarization effects were investigated to determine the impact of these properties on spectral interpretation and data quality. Finally, a set of recommendations were developed which describe instrument performance characteristics for microscope and spectrometer features and functions, and specific instrument parameters that must be controlled in order to acquire high quality data from an ultraviolet-visible forensic microscope spectrophotometer system for increased discrimination power.
Traumatic Brain Injuries among adolescent inmates in Rikers Island, NYC Jail: A mixed methods study
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ABSTRACT Traumatic Brain Injuries among adolescent inmates in Rikers Island, NYC Jail: A mixed methods study by Cassandra Ramdath Adviser: Dr. Hung-En Sung There is a higher prevalance of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among incarcerated population than in the general population. It is possible that head injuries can lead to behavioral difficulties, increasing the risk of criminal justice involvement and custodial difficulties. Principles of bio-social criminology put forth that the interaction between people’s environment and their biological makeup that can lead to maladaptive behaviors. One of the main domains within the bio-social criminology approach is neurocriminology; neurocriminology uses principles of neuroscience to better undersand delinquent and antisocial behaviours and suggests that brain injury can interact with environmental factors to produce seemingly aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Using this theoretical framework, the current study set out to investigate neurological anomalies related to TBIs and custodial challenges among adolescents in Rikers Island, New York City Jail. Goals of the study included establishing the prevalence of TBI in this population; exploring and characterizing TBI as a predictor of custodial arguments, fights, injuries, and sentences to punitive segregation; and examining TBI as a predictor of recidivism and perceived challenges with reentering the community. A mixed methods approach attained these goals through two major objectives: Quantitative analysis of survey, clinical, demographic and criminal history data collected from 262 detainees; and 2) Qualitative analysis of in depth semi-structured interviews with 20 detainees. Subjects included 16-18 year old males. In the quantitative phase, secondary data analyses was conducted using an existing data set compiled by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from participants (N=262) who were screened for TBI using the Traumatic Brain Injury Questionnaire (TBIQ). Binary logistic regressions and survival Cox regression analyses discovered that in this sample, TBI was not a predictor of injuries, punitive segregation terms or recidivism, while controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and other risk factors. However, mental health service utilization was a strong predictor of all outcomes and was highly correlated with TBI. Structural equational modelling suggested that TBI had an indirect effect on all outcome variables through mental health service utilization. It is possible that those who were involved in arguments, fights, infractions, punitive segregation, and who recidivated had accessed mental health services in Rikers due to TBI-related difficulties. These difficulties could have predisposted them to custodial and reentry challenges. The qualitative phase involved in depth semi-structured interviews with 20 detained adolescents. Participants were screened for TBI using the TBIQ, and then asked open ended questions about custodial arguments, fights, and injuries, as well as about their experiences with punitive segregation and perceived challenges upon their release from Rikers. Interviews were transcribed, and organizational and substantive catergories were developed to facilitate open coding. Comparative anlayses were made between participants with and without TBI, and emrgent themes were presented. Findings suggest that participants with TBI experienced unique challenges in relation to verbal arguments and physical fights with other inmates, rapidly escalating physical altercations with corrections officers, weapons-related infractions, punitive segregation, and associated difficulties with coping mechanisms such as self-injury and attempted suicide, and feelings of hopelessness about their reentry into the community. Five themes emerged and detail how what participants with TBI experience in the facility were transferred into their daily activities. Themes included inmates experiencing the following: (a) violence as a norm, (b) the need to survive by all means, (c) a life of ongoing trauma, (d) punitive deprivation and shame, and (e) hopelessness. In converging results from both methods, findings suggest that some inmates with TBI are experiencing custodial challenges, and are being mislabelled as having a mental illness. In addition, many arguments, fights, and injuries were intentionally unreported and therefore undocumented. It is posible that this led to inconclusive fingings in anlayses of administrative data. Future research should seek to disaggreate the behavioral consequences of TBI and of mental illness, and should attempt to pursue more reliable measures of custodial fights and injuries. Education and training of correctional staff about TBI, its symptoms, and long-term consequences could improve correctional management of these inmates. Screening at intake and at multiple points in an inmate’s custodial stay, along with asessment of cognitive functioning can inform approporiate custodial therapy; keeping in mind that brain injury is not synomous with mental illness, successful interventions will be social rather than medical. Information about TBI should also be considered before (e.g., courts) and after (e.g., reentry planning) an idividual is placed in jail. Overall, increased community awareness is essential for prevention and adequate care of people who are suffering from TBIs.
Intimate Partner Violence: An Examination of Ecological Factors
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Intimate Partner Violence has commonly been examined using an individual-psychological or a socio-structural perspective. Little research has examined IPV using an integrated approach. Specifically, little research has focused on understanding IPV in the context of neighborhood or ecology. In ecological studies the units of analysis are spatially defined population aggregates (Anselin, Cohen, Cook, Gor and Tita 2000). The Steering Committee for the Workshop on Issues in Research on Violence against Women, National Research Council clearly identifies the need for ecological research in relation to IPV: "The committee recommends research to estimate the extent of variation in violence against women among census tracts or small neighborhoods, police precincts or districts, or other theoretically meaningful social area aggregations. Research should also be aimed at determining which features of area composition influence rates and types of violence against women." (Kruttschnitt, McLaughlin and Petrie, 2004, p5). The present study, therefore, uses both individual level and community level data to understand the features of area composition that influence IPV. A combination of primary data from survey participants and secondary data from the Census, Infoshare, New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Domestic Violence Research Unit of the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services were modeled using Hierarchal Linear Models (HLM) software. The data were also geo-coded on electronic maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Multi-level binomial regression results indicate no neighborhood effects for the survey sample, whereas Moran's I tests using Geoda software indicate significant spatial clustering of IPV rates in police precincts. Further, regression analysis shows that concentrated disadvantage (b=.55), immigrant concentration (b=-.22) and community violence (b=.31) significantly predict IPV rate in police precincts accounting for about 71 percent of variance in the model.
SERVING AT THE PLEASURE OF THE MAYOR: AN EXPLORATION OF POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT IN NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER DEPARTURES 1901-2001
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In 1901 New York City abolished the bi-partisan Board of Police Commissioners and replaced it with a single headed police commissioner. This legislation was intended to remove politics from policing and affixed a police commissioner's term at five years absent removal for the public interest by the mayor. Through a historical, political and institutional context, the present study explored mayoral involvement in the departure of all former New York Police Commissioners (N=40) between 1901 and 2001. Variations of the following areas found in the literature were included in the analysis; Wilson's police executive selection, Enter's police executive career path, Bynander and Hart's executive succession and Mastrofski's police governance. Two new areas were added to the extant policing literature; "Police Independence" (Professional, Autonomist, Antagonist) which measured the police commissioner's criticism of the mayor at the time of his departure, and "Civilian Control" (Political, Latent Political, Non-Political) which measured the mayor's level of involvement in police commissioner departures. Tepid support for Wilson's (1968) link between local political culture and police style was found using qualitative and quantitative measures. Historically, the study found that despite a mayor being actively engaged in police affairs, political involvement was not the leading cause of police commissioner departures. Multiple manifest rationale were cited for police commissioner departures and numerous latent reasons were identified which revealed underlying political involvement. The average police commissioner tenure was half the City Charter's stipulated five year term and 63% of successions were mid-term. During the period of the study the relationship between the police commissioner and the mayor progressed from servitude to estrangement to, ultimately, accountability and oversight. An informal tradition was identified which was exhibited by police commissioner's decision to resign rather than invoke the City Charter to complete an unexpired term. This tradition which allowed a new mayor the pleasure of selecting his own man not only disregarded the letter of the 1901 legislation intended to protect and insulate incumbent police commissioners from induced political departures, but also violated its spirit to separate politics from policing. These findings are generalizable only to New York City. Future research should focus on municipalities with different political/police structures.
ASSESSING YOUNG MALES' PERSPECTIVES ON THE CULTURAL COMPETENCY OF JUVENILE JUSTICE STAFF AND PREDICTING PSYCHOSOCIAL FUNCTIONING
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The theory of symbolic interactionism explains how social interactions influence behavior. In this study, it is reasoned that culturally sensitive interactions may be associated with adjudicated youth behavior. The purpose of this project is to (1) examine the differences in adjudicated male youths' perceptions of the level of cultural competency in juvenile justice staff members and (2) to identify whether staff members' cultural competency is related to self-restraint, distress, and delinquent behavior in adjudicated male youth. Utilizing a cross-sectional design, adjudicated youths enrolled in a variety of re-entry and transitional programs were surveyed. Youths retrospectively assessed the cultural competency of law enforcement and correctional officers in New York and New Jersey. Since cultural competency has never been measured in the juvenile justice field, instruments from counseling psychology measuring the cultural competency of therapists were modified to assess the same construct in juvenile justice professionals. Instruments from psychology and juvenile justice fields were employed to assess self-restraint, distress, and delinquency, respectively. The findings for this study shed light on the relationship between youths' appraisal of the juvenile justice professionals' level of cultural competency and their psychosocial functioning. The results provide some support that there are differences in demographic characteristics of adjudicated male youth and their perceptions of officers' levels of cultural competency. No relationship exists between appraisals and delinquency. Self-restraint is not significantly related to youths' appraisals of officers. In addition, self-restraint is not a mediating factor between appraisals and delinquency. Distress is significantly related to youths' appraisals of correctional officers. Recommendations to improve the juvenile justice system by making juvenile justice professionals more culturally competent are provided. Replication of this study with a larger sample will be needed to assess the generalizability of these findings.
Pimps of Harlem: Talk of labor and the sociology of risk
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This dissertation examines how third-party labor is socially constructed by pimps or third parties. Pimps and their labor are investigated using sociological paradigms of risk. Risk is defined as exposure to danger (Beck, 1992; Giddens, 1991) and can produce negative or positive feelings and outcomes (Lupton, 1999). I explore how third-party labor is connected to risk with the following research questions: 1) How does the U.S. media portray third parties as risky, and how does this influence proposed remedies to this social problem? 2) How do third parties’ at-risk status impact their role in illicit and licit economies? 3) How do third parties’ social networks influence their business practices, and how do these nexuses impact the riskiness of the work? and 4) How do third parties perceive their voluntary, work-related risk-taking as positive? I chose this population of lower-echelon pimps because they are present in the public imagination in two ways. First, since the 1970s the “ghetto pimp” has been depicted through Blaxploitation films such as SuperFly and The Mack and by the news media as flashy, dangerous predators within “ghetto” landscapes. Second, since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) (2000), many pimps legally qualify as sex traffickers. This legal conflation, combined with the policy agenda of abolitionists and anti-traffickers, shapes a cultural image of pimps as a new, global danger. Because these lower-echelon pimps have been written and are being re-written into the history of the sex trade, their overlooked stories are more important than ever. The findings show that the U.S. news media portrays third parties as predatory, omnipresent, and organized. This is likely to reflect the kind of risk knowledge, or public idea about who is at-risk and who is risky (Douglas, 1985), in commercial sex markets. Overall, pimps are branded as quite dangerous — not only in “ghetto” landscapes, but also on Main Street. The proposed remedies to this social problem are generally punitive solutions, which do not address the roots of this problem, such as poverty. The social context of this sample of pimps is akin to Loic Wacquant’s description of advanced marginalization, where due to poverty and being relegated to “ghettos,” this group experiences extreme deprivation at the margins. Third parties’ social constructivist accounts of their labor shows how they view their at-risk status in relation to social and economic boundaries. Younger third parties (18 to 23 years old) move more seamlessly across licit and illicit boundaries in line with David Matza’s (1964) theory of drift, whereas older pimps are more confined to illicit spheres and speak from subcultural positions. This is further reflected in how their accounts differ: while older pimps tend to use at-risk discourse to explain their motivation to pimp, younger pimps have a bicultural discourse in which they use not only at-risk discourse, but also discourse about mastering both worlds. In terms of the dangers of their work in illicit sectors, pimps’ existing social networks play a role in how they perform this labor. This is especially true of younger pimps, who tend to work with friends or family. More insular work networks make this work less risky. Compared to older pimps, younger third parties tend to use less violence with sex workers and clients, and they are not as controlling about their businesses. In contrast, older pimps more commonly work outdoors and with stranger clients, so they have to embody violence and control. They do, however, have more close-knit social relationships with sex workers. Working with stranger clients and having pseudo-family work networks may play a role in older pimps’ more lucrative economic returns, but some of these differences may be attributed to differences in age, such as maturity, youth’s reliance on technology for communication, and their insular social networks based on homophily (sameness). Pimping involves voluntary risk-taking that can produce positive feelings and outcomes. In line with Stephen Lyng’s idea of edgework, pimps engage in risk and its successful navigation, which results in feelings of control through mastering danger or escaping from social controls. Older pimps more often successfully run dangerous businesses, whereas younger third parties more often suspend social controls through “carnivalesque” or “worlds turned upside down” (derived from Bakhtin, 1984) parties. Because of their at-risk status and gender, race, and class positions, third parties approach risk differently than more traditional edgeworkers. Some marginalized males flirt with the edge from a subcultural position. Yet edgework can facilitate a form of hegemonic masculinity, but with simultaneous resistance to raced and classed positions. This connects to “hustler embodiment,” where slickness and abilities with money and girls are exaggerated. This brand of “hypermasculinity” may be the result of being at the margins and wanting to outperform those at the center. Unlike traditional edgework, which results in feelings of authenticity, pimps’ outperformance is a way of resisting mainstream culture. This dissertation is one of the first empirical studies of third parties to explore how they not only perceive the dangers of their work, but also how they interpret the meaning of their work from marginalized socio-structural positions and risk orientations.
Don't I Have a Right to Bail? A Study of Bail Decisions/Outcomes and Their Effects of Plea Bargaining and Sentencing
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DON'T I HAVE A RIGHT TO BAIL? A STUDY OF BAIL DECISIONS/OUTCOMES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON PLEA BARGAINING AND SENTENCING by Meghan Sacks Advisor: Professor Candace McCoy Previous research on bail practices has shown that legal factors such as offense severity and prior criminal record impact bail decisions and outcomes, as well as demographic factors such as race and gender. While sentencing practices have been studied extensively, bail is at the forefront of the criminal process and has the potential to affect the trajectory of a case. This study examines the factors that impact bail decision making and the subsequent influence of bail on the entire criminal case process that includes plea bargaining and ultimately sentencing. The analyses consist primarily of quantitative methods. Specifically, this research employs a sample of 634 New Jersey superior court cases tracked from arrest through disposition. These data are supplemented with findings from interviews with the courtroom work group and observations of bail hearings. Regarding bail, this study finds that both legal and extralegal factors impact bail decisions and that financial resources play an important role in bail outcomes. More specifically, the seriousness of the offense and the number of charges brought against the defendant strongly impact bail decisions by the court. This study examines bail decisions made by judges and subsequent bail outcomes, i.e., whether defendant posted financial bail and were released or not. Individuals represented by public defenders are less likely to post bail when compared with individuals who have private counsel. Bail amount set by the court is higher for defendants in urban jurisdictions and defendants in urban jurisdictions are less likely to be able to post bail. Looking at demographic factors, minorities receive less advantageous bail decisions and black defendants are less likely to post bail. Conversely, bail amount plays a strong role in bail outcomes in that defendants with higher monetary bail requirements are less likely to post bail, highlighting the importance of the defendant's economic resources. Additionally, this study's qualitative findings demonstrate that criminal history is a strong consideration in bail decisions and that the courtroom work group dynamic also influences bail proceedings. Turning to subsequent decision points, this study found that an increase in the number of charges is related to an increase in the case's disposition time. While cases involving black and hispanic defendants take longer to reach a disposition, cases involving public defenders have a shorter disposition time. These results support the hypothesis that defendants who are detained before trial plead guilty earlier than defendants who are able to post bail, which can significantly affect later dispositions. Although pretrial detention does not impact the decision to incarcerate, pretrial detention does significantly impact the length of the sentence in cases that involve incarceration. Several other factors influence sentence length, including gender, race, the number of charges and offense type, and prior criminal history. In sum, the quantitative analyses indicate that both legal and extralegal factors impact bail decisions. The qualitative data demonstrate that factors internal to the court, i.e., agreement on the going rate, also play a role in bail proceedings. Moreover, these results show that pretrial detention impacts subsequent decision points in that defendants who are detained prior to trial, in most instances, plead guilty faster and receive lengthier sentences. The impact of bail proceedings on the trajectory of a case highlights the ongoing need to carefully scrutinize pretrial practices.
Situational Surveillance Control
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This research considers the adoption, design, implementation, and oversight of digital surveillance technologies in the daily and critical functions of the Belleville Police Department. This agency has custom designed and implemented a digital surveillance and data management system which has since been adopted by forty police departments across its state--including the State Police; moreover, Belleville's data systems interface with the principal national and state-level criminal justice databases, as well as with data sources external to the criminal justice system. The agency provided, to the extent permissible by law, complete access to the agency's employees and systems, as well as all available historical data and records relating to the creation and development of the system. The researcher collaborated with the agency's employees in an extended ethnographic study of their digital surveillance technologies and processes in order to empirically assess associated potential and actual harms, issues, problems, and vulnerabilities. This study concludes by proposing ways that harm reduction models, such as Situational Crime Prevention, can be applied to digital surveillance technologies to improve oversight and accountability.
Pathogen Detection Using the Luminex Multi-analyte System
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The causative agents of anthrax, botulism, tularemia, and plague are so destructive that they could be used maliciously by bioterrorists. Microscopical and biochemical methods of identifying pathogenic bacteria are often inaccurate and time-consuming. Genetics-based alternatives surpass traditional detection methods in terms of speed and accuracy, but often lack the capacity for multiplexing. Luminex technology embodies all the advantages of DNA-based identification while still offering impressive multiplexing capabilities. Luminex is a liquid array platform that relies on specially labeled microscopic beads to which unique probes are covalently attached. Hybridization of the probes to the unknown target sequences is detected and quantified by the instrument. Four core pathogenic bacterial species were selected: Bacillus anthracis, Clostridium botulinum, Francisella tularensis subsp. tularensis, and Yersinia pestis. Probe sequences intended for confirmatory identification of the four core pathogens were located within genes related to the toxicity of each bacterium. Additional probe sequences within the 23S ribosomal RNA gene rrl were selected for presumptive identification of the four core pathogens, or a relative belonging to the same genus. Primer3 and AutoDimer software programs were used during probe and target DNA design to specify oligo parameters and minimize cross-reactivity. The specificity of all oligos was verified using whole genome searches conducted on the NCBI BLAST database. Target sequences were amplified by PCR and quantified using the Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer. Primer specificity was confirmed by the detection of target band(s) of the requisite length. Specificity and sensitivity were examined by introducing various increments of each target sequence to all probes. A reasonable degree of specificity was observed, although some probes were prone to false positives. The LLDs for the probes ranged from 0.1 to 10 ng. Sensitivity was improved by using lambda exonuclease to enzymatically digest the non-complementary PCR strand. Thirty-three binary, ternary, and quaternary mixtures were examined in which all components were present in a 1:1 ratio, with an 80% success rate for identifying all components. Four binary mixtures were subjected to further study in which the two components were combined in various ratios. Both components were detected in 100% of the twenty-eight mixtures analyzed, even when the minor component was overshadowed by a ten-fold excess of the major component. False positives typically had an attenuated fluorescent response that made them easily distinguishable from a genuine positive result. Overall, the Luminex platform is a robust method of identifying pathogenic microorganisms. This technique has a superior level of specificity and sensitivity, provided that each assay has its underpinnings in a thorough survey of all pertinent bioinformatics data. Continued research with the Luminex technology is important both for validating the utility of this technique and for satisfying legal admissibility standards.