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Technology in Corrections - Social Media

"A national scan of practice among law enforcement agencies across the United States reveals that they use social media to notify the public of safety concerns, manage public relations, and gather evidence for criminal investigations. The Urban Institute and the International Association of Chiefs of Police partnered to develop a comprehensive understanding of law enforcement’s use of social media. A total of 539 agencies representing 48 states participated in the survey and answered questions regarding their use of social media, the management of social media engagement activities, barriers to success, and their future social media needs."

"Commissioner Robert Coupe today announced the launch of the official Department of Correction Twitter and Facebook pages. These resources have been developed to enhance communication with Delawareans by providing the public with real-time news and information, including time-sensitive notices about offenders and Department facilities, and updates on expanding resources offered to victims, offenders’ families, and others. The sites will also be regularly updated with postings and photos that reflect the wide range of community outreach efforts by Department of Correction staff and community service work performed by offenders."

"Social media sites have become useful tools for the public and law enforcement entities, but criminals are also using these sites for wrongful purposes. Social media sites may be used to coordinate a criminal-related flash mob or plan a robbery, or terrorist groups may use social media sites to recruit new members and espouse their criminal intentions. Social media sites are increasingly being used to instigate or conduct criminal activity, and law enforcement personnel should understand the concept and function of these sites, as well as know how social media tools and resources can be used to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and investigate criminal activity. To ensure that information obtained from social media sites for investigative and criminal intelligence-related activity is used lawfully while also ensuring that individuals' and groups' privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties are protected, law enforcement agencies should have a social media policy (or include the use of social media sites in other information-related policies). This social media policy should communicate how information from social media sites can be utilized by law enforcement, as well as the differing levels of engagement--such as apparent/overt, discrete, or covert--with subjects when law enforcement personnel access social media sites, in addition to specifying the authorization requirements, if any, associated with each level of engagement. These levels of engagement may range from law enforcement personnel 'viewing' information that is publicly available on social media sites to the creation of an undercover profile to directly interact with an identified criminal subject online. Articulating the agency's levels of engagement and authorization requirements is critical to agency personnel's understanding of how information from social media sites can be used by law enforcement and is a key aspect of a social media policy" (p. 1-2).

Developing A Policy Cover

“The goal of the [Center for Social Media] initiative is to build the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services. IACP’s Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel develop or enhance their agency’s use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations.” Points of access include: getting started—an introduction to social media, strategy development, policy development, and putting it all into action; technologies; topics-- alerts and notifications, analytics and metrics, community outreach and citizen engagement, crime information, crime prevention, emergency preparedness and response, investigations, legal and legislative, malicious use, mobile, policy, privacy, safety, and security, public relations and reputation management, recruiting, research, strategy, and vetting; resources—case law, case studies, FAQ, fun facts, glossary terms, publications, tools and tutorials, and training and technical assistance; directory of law enforcement agencies that use social media; news; information regarding the initiative; blog; Executive Chiefs’ Corner; IACP’s Social Media Survey results; new on the site; items of interest; and frequently asked questions.

IACP Center Cover

"This paper was developed to elevate the awareness of the potential of social media, also known as social networking, in the field of community corrections. Monitoring client activity on social media can be an important component of the investigation or supervision process, however with opportunities come challenges. This paper will highlight the importance of establishing policies around social media use and identify some of the issues community corrections agencies may encounter as they incorporate social media in their investigation and supervision practices. Specifically, the paper addresses four areas of interest with social media usage in community corrections: client investigations and intelligence gathering; policy development available tools to assist agencies monitor social media; and training resources."

"This document will provide guidelines for use of social media within the N.C. Department of Public Safety, in accordance with the North Carolina Office of the Governor’s “Best Practices for Social Media Usage in North Carolina”. 

NCDPS recognizes the value of using social media, also known as new media or Web 2.0, as a way to communicate with stakeholders, media, its employees and the public at large. Tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others are rapidly changing the way information is exchanged and governments are expected to engage the public using these Internet-based channels."

"The nature of identity has changed dramatically in recent years and has grown in complexity. Identities are defined in multiple domains: biological and psychological elements strongly contribute, but biographical and cyber elements also are necessary to complete the picture. Law enforcement is beginning to adjust to these changes, recognizing identity’s importance in criminal justice. The Superidentity project seeks to aid law enforcement officials in their identification tasks through research of techniques for discovering identity traits, generation of statistical models of identity and analysis of identity traits through visualization. We present use cases compiled through user interviews in multiple fields, including law enforcement, and describe the modeling and visualization tools design to aid in those use cases."

"In recent years, social media has become a valuable tool for community supervision agencies to monitor and address the activities of people on probation or parole, and in the pre-sentencing investigations of people charged with crimes. This webinar shares emerging research regarding the importance of establishing policies around the use of social media by community corrections administrators, managers and supervisors including the administration of social media content; setting expectations for appropriate employee personal use; and investigation and supervision standards."

"The report (summary below) by the US Department of Justice addressing possible connections between terrorism and mass murders raises a perplexing question; do law enforcement and correctional agencies have the ability to monitor social media accounts to detect these events? 

The report focuses on potential warnings through social media. I’m extending the conversation of social media threats to day-to-day criminal activity."


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