New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about a tool out of the public eye that law enforcement agents use when determining if a suspect is guilty. The tool is called SCAN, or Scientific Content Analysis. More than 400 agencies across the United States, from small-town police departments to military agencies, have paid to be trained using this tool. However, there's no reliable science behind it.
New Jersey residents are more likely to be arrested and convicted of crimes than in the past, but this is not because crime is on the rise. Instead, there is a rise in taking people into custody for petty crimes, including underage drinking. Even one conviction can have a significant effect on a person's future, affecting their ability to go into certain lines of work and leading to an average annual drop in earnings compared to those who have never faced a criminal conviction.
New Jersey readers may be interested to learn that a federal judge recently ruled that the FBI's watchlist of "known or suspected terrorists" is unconstitutional. The ruling was handed down on Sept. 4.
Incarceration rates in New Jersey and around the country are among the highest in the world, but not all jail inmates are behind bars because they committed a crime. Many indigent criminal defendants are sent to jail before their trials even begin because they cannot afford to post bail, and thousands more find themselves behind bars because of outstanding traffic tickets or unpaid fines.
New Jersey residents who have privacy concerns in this heavily digital world may have another reason to worry as facial recognition software is being used more often. Stores can use the technology to capture the faces of patrons without their knowledge or consent. Once identified by recognition software as a threat, it could be hard to clear one's name.
Young people in New Jersey and around the country are now being arrested far more often than they were in previous decades according to a study from the RAND Corporation. After scrutinizing data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics gathered over several decades, RAND researchers discovered that adults currently between 26 and 35 years of age were 3.6 times more likely to have an arrest on their records than Americans older than 66.