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Prison Profiteers

Articles by Kevin Bliss

Policing and Racial Bias

Researchers Rebecca Hetey and Jennifer Eberhardt reported in 2018 that evidence is sufficient to establish that racial bias exists in the criminal justice system. Blacks are more apt to be arrested, convicted and sentenced to more time than Whites.

The Association for Psychological Science (“APS”) July/August Observer reports that Heather Kleider-Offutt, Alesha Bond, and Shanna Hagerty went further to say that this racial bias is even more pronounced if the person’s features are more Afrocentric, i.e. darker skin, wide nose, big lips, etc. They report these racial responses may be more automatic than conscious and therefore completely unavoidable.

Writing in Current Directions in Psychological Science, APS Fellow Keith Payne found that if a subject were to make a decision about potential firearms in conjunction ...

Minneapolis: Use of Force Against Blacks 7 Times Higher Than That for Whites

Floyd was being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store when one of the arresting police officers, Derek Chauvin, applied a controversial body pin by placing his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd’s air passage was constricted from the technique, and Floyd died as a result. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree murder. Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson said, “In my experience, applying pressure to somebody’s neck in that fashion is always understood to be the application of deadly force.”

Stinson was also concerned that the three other police officers surrounding Chauvin did not attempt to intervene even though they knew they were being filmed, indicating that they had no problem with the excessive use of ...

Risk Assessment Tools Perpetuate Inherent Biases and Prejudices

Most states view Kentucky as the best example of utilization of RA tools in the U.S. In 2011, it was the first state to implement the use of RA in deciding bail. According to a 2018 study, the number of people released pending trial at that time increased by 13%.

By 2016, more than half that gain disappeared. Laws changed and judges were given more leeway to ignore recommendations. No oversight existed on the use or rejection of RAs. Kentucky Center for Economic Policy research director Ashley Spalding said judges tended to ignore the results. “They’re overriding the findings of the risk assessment tool,” she said. “In practice, we’re seeing that it is often disregarded.”

A 2019 study showed that judges were more apt to ignore the recommendation for release of Blacks in the moderate risk category than Whites. “Judges see the moderate risk label, and for white defendants, moderate risk was interpreted as low risk, and for Black defendants, it was ...

New York Police Act With Impunity During Protests

Government watchdog organization Broadcastify, which allows citizens to listen in on police and emergency band radio broadcasts, aired police transmissions as protestors moved June 1 into the 77th Precinct of Brooklyn. A police officer can be heard yelling, “Shoot the motherfuckers.”

While another responded with, “Don’t put that over the air.” Human rights activists said this is just another example of a long pattern of violence without fear of repercussion that is prevalent in law enforcement. While being called to protect and serve the public, police are instead engaging in combat with protesters.

A group of New York public defenders issued this statement June 2: “The disturbing videos and reports of the violent attacks by NYPD on protestors and the media, while traumatizing to watch, are all too familiar to us. They mirror the stories we ...

Police Unions Buy Their Way Out of Reform

Federal contributions during the same period have totaled $47.3 million.

The Guardian asserts unions and police use spending as a tool to defeat reform measures. They strategically target and donate to key politicians who show a history of being against reform policies and enhancing police accountability. This type of spending has dramatically increased in the last 10 years, explaining why most reform bills have been defeated even in the face of all the high-profile police shootings.

Director of Stop LAPD Spying Hamid Khan said, “The power of their money runs very deep.” Government entities “have become rubber-stamp bodies in which police power is never challenged.”

Los Angeles unions alone have spent $64.8 million on campaign contributions to block reform. The Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association stated in a letter to its 8,000 members that they need donations of at least $2 million more to be used in establishing “collaborative ...

Smart Devices Tapped Into by Police During Investigations

by Kevin Bliss

Wired magazine reported earlier this year that police requests for smart-speaker user data from Amazon was up 24% from last year, 72% from the first time Amazon disclosed this information in 2016.

Police have requested 3,000 recordings from smart speakers monitored by Amazon this year. The company ...

Police tactical intervention a deadly risk on roads

by Kevin Bliss

A police tactical driving maneuver used at high speed has been responsible for killing 30 people and injuring hundreds of others since 2016, a Washington Post investigation reveals. PIT (precision immobilization technique), which involves a patrol car forcing a suspect's fleeing vehicle into a “controlled” spin after ...

Police Use Noise as a Weapon for ‘Crowd Control’

by Kevin Bliss

Police are using harmful military-grade noise weapons in crowd control during protests. These items, flashbangs, and long-range acoustic devices (LRADs) can produce sounds of over 170 decibels, damaging vulnerable parts of the inner ear which affect other body functions such as balance and feelings of nausea.

Luna ...

Floyd’s Family Might End Up Helping Pay Chauvin’s Retirement Benefits

Derek Chauvin could still receive about $50,000 a year in pension partly funded by taxpayers like George Floyd’s surviving family, even if he’s convicted of second-degree murder.

Moreover, qualified immunity would most likely prevent Floyd’s family from successfully suing him.

Chauvin was the police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd for nearly nine minutes while Floyd lay under him suffocating on May 25, 2020. Floyd ended up dying, and Chauvin and three other officers fired. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Minnesota law does not have a provision allowing the revocation of a public employee’s pension if the employee commits a felony during the discharge of the employee’s duty as most other states do. So, based on Chauvin’s final rate of pay and his years in service, CNN figured he should receive about $50,000 per year without calculating any cost of living increases. He could, if he chooses, draw a fully vested pension at age 55; he is 44.

By the time he reaches 78, the average male life expectancy in the United States, he will have received $1.1 million, even if he is sitting behind bars.

Minnesota’s ...

Nationwide Police Misconduct Database Available to Public

Amidst a call for more transparency in police departments across America, journalists from USA Today and its affiliated newsrooms began filing records requests under open records laws. They compiled 200,000 incidents of misconduct, 110,000 internal affairs investigations, and 30,000 decertifications from the nation’s 100 largest police forces and their surrounding departments. The latter was done to track movement of disciplined police among departments.

Police unions and legislators have conspired to enact special protections for records, keeping them from public scrutiny. They claim certain information if released could place police and their families in jeopardy. USA Today said it published these records to give the public an opportunity to examine departments and police misconduct as well as to identify police who have been decertified yet continue to work in law enforcement. It addresses the concerns that particular departments or individual police ...



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