Monday, June 17, 2013

TN - 2010 study found problems with state sex predator program

Original Article

05/26/2013

By Beth Burger

An outside 2010 evaluation of the Tennessee Department of Correction's program to prevent inmates from getting raped by other inmates or staff members found the program was ineffective.

That's the same program that a 34-year-old rapist was enrolled in as an inmate classified as a high-risk sexual predator. A year after his release, he raped a teen and killed his wife on a single day.

"One of my biggest of criticisms of the program was it was just an educational program. It didn't have much of a mental health component," said Rosevelt Noble, a senior lecturer in the sociology department at Vanderbilt University who conducted the evaluation three years ago.

Inmates were given educational classroom material as part of the "self-actualization" program. Some of the programs included segments such as "Cage Your Rage," "Abused Boys, Wounded men" and "Recognizing Violence."

The program was provided to inmates to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PDF).

"The material, in and of itself, is not sufficient to effectively treat individuals who are classified as high-risk sexual predators," Noble wrote in the evaluation. "For instance, if the basis of a predator's motivation to sexually assault other inmates stems from some deeper psychological trauma or some other mental illness, the current program curriculum would not help this inmate."

He made 24 recommendations to make the program more effective. Asked last week if any of the recommendations were implemented, Noble said he wasn't "100 percent sure." But he did know that at some point, the Department of Correction ended the program altogether.

"Partly because of my evaluation, they busted the program up. It didn't look like they wanted to take those [recommendations] on."

Before that, [name withheld] successfully completed the program and was issued a certificate.

"You can look the part ... and still walk out of there with a certificate of completion," Noble said.

Even if an inmate receives treatment early on, there needs to be some sort of plan to continue effective programming over the course of his sentence, Noble said.

"I think to make more of a concerted effort ... treat those core issues ... some type of sex treatment," he said.

Inmates were placed in the program because of how they were scored on a predator scale that was deemed inaccurate by staff members.

Many had to take the classes against their will.

Staff members said they noticed that sexual activity was constant.

"They're always exposing themselves in church services, ball field, classes, it's just all kinds of it. Anywhere there's a female employee, not necessarily an officer or volunteer, they're subject to inmates exposing themselves or masturbating. It's just a constant battle," said one staff member quoted in the study.

There also wasn't enough staff for the number of inmates enrolled, and no assessment was made to see if the program affected inmate behavior, the study found.

"If we could do a predator program and it's done well it would require more security staff, it would require more mental health staff and it would require more counselors. I mean you can't be staff deprived and expect results," said a staff member in the study.

An audit for prison rape elimination programming is scheduled to take place in August in Tennessee prisons.

In [name withheld]'s case, it's unclear whether a better program would have made a difference.

"I'm not sure that [a self-actualization] program would have effectively changed him if he's got that level of mental health issues," said Noble, "because who knows what the root cause is for this person to have this predatory behavior?"


Google is working on new tech to eliminate all child porn on the Web

Original Article

06/16/2013

By Sean Ludwig

Search and mobile superpower Google is working on new technology that would effectively purge all images of child pornography and abuse from most of the Web.
- This sounds good, but, are they just going to remove it from searches?  Because, they don't have access to many ISP's or other companies who host web sites, so they cannot just log into someone's web site / FTP server, etc, and delete images.  So this to us, sounds too good to be true.

Google disclosed new efforts to fight online child exploitation in a blog post yesterday. The company committed $5 million to “eradicate child-abuse imagery online” and started a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund to encourage the development of better tools to destroy child porn.

While money allocations to the cause are important, the technology Google is building to combat child porn is even more so. Google is working on a new database of flagged images of child porn and abuse that can be shared with other search engines and child-protection organizations. The database will help create systems that automatically eliminate that sort of content.

Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted ‘fingerprints’ of child sexual-abuse images into a cross-industry database,” Jacquelline Fuller, the director of Google Giving, wrote in the blog post. “This will enable companies, law enforcement, and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images and to take action against the criminals.”

If the database is effective, any flagged image would not be searchable through participating search engines or web-hosting providers. And maybe best of all, computers will automatically flag and remove these images without any human needing to see them.
- So this sounds just like what we said, they'll hide them from their search engine, but what about other search engines, and web sites?

Google hopes the new database is operational in less than a year, according to The Telegraph.

This announcement is inspiring for those who are at the forefront of tackling child sexual-abuse content,” Susie Hargreaves, the chief executive officer of the Internet Watch Foundation, told The Telegraph. “We know that the best way to tackle what is some of the most horrific content online is by working with others from all over the world to combat this on a global platform.”