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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How to Impose Technological Restraints on Criminal Offenders

July 31st, 2012

Law Technology News (LTN) just posed, How to Impose Technological Restraints on Criminal Offenders. Check it out!


Attention: Community Corrections/Cybercrime Followers

March 30th, 2012

 The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Offender Risk in the 21st Century has been published and it out. I got my copies about a week ago. I know several folks have pre-ordered and they have their copies. You can get a good preview of the book at the publisher site, noted below. Additionally, Amazon has quite a bit of the book for review online. also has a nice intro, pulled from the back of the book. The other sites have it listed with copies available but not much of a preview.  That said, if you are looking for a deal, shop around. You can’t go wrong with the publisher site but I know some of them are posting at lower prices (used books).  The book is selling like hot cakes though so if you want a copy you better get one before the price goes up or the initial supply has to be replenished.  For now these are the sites to check it out and order.

Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, LTD



February 15th, 2012

The book, The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Offender Risk in the 21st Century is only a few weeks from being released. Check out the Facebook Fan page at for important updates and announcements.


Cybercrime and Corrections: Predictions for 2012

January 9th, 2012

 Well it is time from my first post of the year and I have decided that 2012 predictions are in order. Last year I wrote about mobile phones in prisons and online drug sales,  gambling, and victimization to name a few. Are these going to be topics in 2012? Regrettably, yes.

Let start with mobile phones in prisons. Last year I noted mobile phones were being used by prisoners to coordinate attacks including an attempted hit on a correctional officer. Charles Manson even had one in his cell. Within the last two months mobile phones were reportedly used during a coordinated attack by prisoners in a Georgia prison. Corrections Commission Brian Owens was reported as stating:

It’s at an epidemic level. Cell phones in prison aren’t about calling grandma for Thanksgiving. It’s about power, it’s about money, and often times it’s about gangs.”

During 2010, more than 8,000 mobile phones were confiscated from inside Georgia correctional facilities. In another mobile phone incident, inmates arranged for meetings with prostitutes while on work detail outside the facility. It seems like the Federal Government may be looking at ways to allow jamming of unauthorized mobile devices in correctional facilities. I put the chances at 50/50 that something will happen positive, particular during a presidential election year.

Last year I provided information regarding online illegal drugs sales. Before I make my prediction, let me mention a December story about online gun sales. This story noted that gun sales via the Internet had reached $1 billion in 2009 up from previous years and one site has 1.8 million registered users. Many of these sales were “largely unregulated and undocumented.” So guns are being sold in increasing numbers online. What does guns have to do with drugs? Well, one doesn’t need a background check to purchase drugs, presumably just a prescription. My common sense side tells me a gun should be the hardest thing to purchase online, followed by drugs. But my side that knows online business is the way of the world knows that is just not the case. Predictions? During an election year there will be no legistlative action to stop this activity. Gee, I hope an inmate can’t order drugs and guns online and have them delivered. But then again they were able to order prostitutes with mobile phones from jail. It would be a piece of cake for an offender under home confinement/detention.

Online gambling is also going to be interesting issue this year. Within just days before Christmas, The Justice Department, gave states the go ahead to start cashing in on intrastate online gambling systems that don’t include sports betting. States are going to have to make decisions about this issue sooner rather than later in light of this turn around. In these tough economic times I believe they will rush ahead, without a lot of study on the possible negative effects of online gambling.

Are online vitimizations are going to continue? In 2011, I noted one case of a Craigslist serial killer, in New York and individuals who used the site to rob and kill in California. Now it appears there are several difference cases were killers lured their victims online in Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. It seems the predators have taken their hunting online in a big way. At the same time we have a study out that stated more than than half of United States kids under 13 have illegal Facebook accounts. I know the cases involving killers noted above involved sites such as Craigslist, not Facebook and they were going after adults not kids. I am sure predators are only going to hunt those areas and leave Facebook as well as kids alone….NOT.

Internet harassment (cyberbullying, cyberstalking, etc.) also is going to continue as more and more folks get online, which will expose them to increased opportunities for victimization. By the way, January is National Stalking Awareness Month.

Congress is grappling with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which many argue is out of date requiring clarification about “exceeding authorization” and those Terms of User Agreements that sites have, including Facebook. In a nutshell there has to be a balance between those that fudge there online profiles to get a date and those that are fabricating information to target someone for victimization. I wonder where a Term of User agreement that prohibits particular class of offender will stand in the end. How will Facebook’s rule about no sex offenders stand? Wait a minute, it is an election year… there is no way politicians are going to go out of their way to advocate for forcing websites to allow sex offenders on them. Will courts make a decision? Stay tuned.

What about gangs? Are they still going high tech? Yep, The National Gang Intelligence Center noted it its 2011 assessment:

Gangs are becoming increasingly adaptable and sophisticated, employing new and advanced technology—including social networking websites—to carry out criminal activity discreetly and connect with other gang members, criminal organizations, and potential recruits around the country and around the world.”

Speaking of gangs…what about hacker groups? I don’t think we have heard the last of Anonymous. They like getting headlines. Maybe they will try to muck up a candidate’s or a party’s site since it is an election year here in the states. What about flash riots? I don’t know. Seems the last bunch occurred in August.. We will see if they reappear when the weather gets warmer.

What does all this mean for corrections? Well the mobile phone issue is obviously a big deal for anyone working in a prison. It needs resolved, even if it is an election year. What about community corrections? Seems like everyone is looking to do more with less. Hopefully, pretrial, probation, and parole agencies will take the recent American Probation and Parole Association issue paper, Managing the Risks Posed by Offender Computer Use to heart and take cyberspace into account.  Corrections has to realize that we living in a world where online conduct frequently has real world implications, particularly for vicitms.  At the same time technology can help offenders and we need to realize that a one size approach, namingly prohibiting all computer and Internet access for everyone who misuses technology, is not the solution. For me I will try to keep you posted and updated. Now where is my cigar at?


It Our Anniversary!

November 17th, 2011

On or about November 29thof last year the Three C’s started up. Since the start up there have been about 40 posts, dealing with technology and criminal behavior, usually with a corrections perspective in mind. Here is a sampling of the topics covered: Sex offenders; Juvenile Sexting; Hackers; Social Networking; Gaming Devices; Computer Monitoring; Online Gambling; Substance Abuse and the Internet; Internet Harassment;  Flash Riots; Inmates and Computer Access; and Mobile Phones in Prison.

At this junction it seems fitting to ask for reader input, both pros and cons about the blog thus far. Let me know what I have done right and of course where I have missed the boat. Additionally, let me know what you think should be covered in the future. You can either response to this post or if you prefer go to Contact Us and click on the Editorial Department to send an e-mail to the “boss”.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank everyone that has checked out the Three C’s from time to time and of course those individuals who have provided  comments, both negative and positive to the posts. Take care and have a great holiday season!


Read: Technology in Corrections at

October 26th, 2011

Technology in Corrections: Panacea or Pariah? by Joe Bouchard, is very nicely written. Please take a look at it


The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Offender Risk in the 21st Century

October 1st, 2011

Well, we settled on a title for the book: The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections: Managing Offender Risk in the 21st Century. My publisher, Charles C. Thomas Pub Ltd., has returned the page proofs to me for final review and I am working on the index. Briefly, the book covers also aspects of managing an offender’s computer use and includes such topics as searching, computer monitoring and online investigations in a community correction setting. It was written to empower pretrial, probation, and parole officers to meet the supervision challenges of the twenty-first century. Those who help train or assist these officers, such as law enforcement and IT staff , will also benefit from its contents. Additionally, anyone involved in managing a community corrections agency (supervisors, chiefs, court administrators, judges, parole commissioners, corrections directors, etc.) will also find its contents beneficial. Finally, both prosecutors and defense attorneys will be in a better position to advocate the various sentencing options, including the imposition of technological conditions, by reviewing this book’s material.  I obviously am pleased with the results but don’t just take my word.  Jim Tanner, national cybercrime expert and Project Coordinator for NLECTC (and KBSolutions’) Field Search Project honored me with writing the book’s Foreword.  He notes in part:  ‘

Not only does this book help community corrections professionals understand how to monitor computer use, but it helps us realize how information gained during monitoring can assist us in overall case management. The technology is now readily available to effectively manage offenders’ digital behavior. Bowker’s book moves us all toward a more informed use of the technology.

Depending upon how fast I can get these page proofs back and the index finalized it will be available in January or February of 2012. Look for further updates at Charles C. Thomas Pub Ltd. or check back here.


Is Flash Justice the Solution to Flash Riots?

September 15th, 2011

This summer has seen a perverted twist on a phenomenon that started in 2003, specifically flash mobs. Initially flash mobs were organized, usually via social media, for entertainment, fun, even social protests. However, this summer we saw flash mobs being organized for crime. We had the riots in the United Kingdom and numerous mass shoplifting and robberies occurring in the United States. These acts were all apparently coordinated via social media. Who knows if this will be a new trend or if it will fizzle out.

One thing that concerns me is a terrorist creating a flash mob to either maximize the casualties and/or reduce the response time of law enforcement and other first responders. I could also imagine a “lone wolf” terrorist doing the same thing. We may also see “smarter” offenders using a flash mob to divert attention for a much more serious criminal act. Imagine being able to manipulate a mob to commit a crime. For now we are dealing with those who thought it was okay to participate in a mass free for all of criminality. 

Thanks to technology many of these “Einsteins” were video taped in the act. Many have been arrested. I can hear the arguments being made by some offenders who were caught. I just went to a location to see what was going to happen. All I took was a candy bar. I never intended to do anything criminal. There will be a lot of rationalization and minimization going on for sure. The task for the person making the sentencing recommendations is going to be to cut through all this stuff. But how?

The United Kingdom apparently is adopting decades old rules for dealing with these recent rioters.  They have three principles which are being used to guide sentencing decisions. The first principle is that apprehended offenders can’t’ argue that they shouldn’t be punished because others who were equally to blame didn’t get caught. The second principle is anyone who is involved in a major mass criminal act can’t expect to have their actions considered separately from those others involved. Basically, no matter how minor their role was in the event they are just as responsible for the results of the larger disorder in which the police were overwhelmed by strength of numbers. Finally, the last principle is the offender’s previous good character has less mitigation effect when they are involved in a large scale criminal act, such as  riot. It is kind of interesting that they are using principles that were developed well before social networking or even the Internet was created.

I am not saying that is a bad way of dealing with riots. But the effect is starting to be felt in the prisons and jails.  There are reports that in England and Wales jail populations are increasing by 100 a day, which is being attributed in part to justice dispensed to the rioters. You see in a “wired” society, with cameras every where no one gets away for long. Forty years ago, when their legal principles were adopted, you have only a few offenders getting caught. Now with cameras recording everything you have a larger percentage of the mob being arrested. Not to mention the truly brain dead rioters posting pictures of themselves on the Facebook profiles doing criminal acts. Maybe the hard line though will put an end to the flash riots. 

What about in the United States?   In the states we pride ourselves on individualized justice. What do we do with 75 offenders who meet via a social media to shoplift $700 from a local store? Maybe we treat them all equal and throw the book at them. Maybe there is another way though. Why not focus on the ring leaders, you know those who arranged the acts. Come down hard on these who posted and spread the word to do start a crime wave.  Anyone caught committing violence, as opposed to stealing a candy bar or six back of beer goes to the front of the prison bus.

 Law enforcement are going to have to get up to speed and fast.  Some law enforcement are already monitoring social media.  Additionally, after the fact they are also going to have to be prepared to investigate who arranged the event, i.e, got the discussion going via the social media. Sure those video cameras and posts on offender’s social networking profiles are great but they are just pieces of the investigative pie. Obviously, these investigations are going to depend upon the amount of loss, damage, and/or harm inflicted. 

For those in corrections, particularly those involved in sentencing recommendations, maybe it is time to take a breath. Look at the loss, the damage and harm and the role the offender played in the crime. Also look to how cooperative they were with the police in helping in the investigation and/or if they accepted responsibility for their crime.  Finally, what does their prior record look like. 

I truly hope this is just a stupid fad, like the “streakers” of my day.  (Yeah, thirty years ago folks sometimes chose to run naked through the streets as opposed to burning everything down.)  Maybe the UK has got it right. But then again, it will not take too many social media shoplifting events to quickly overwhelm correctional resources. After all in today’s fiscal environment can we throw everyone in jail?  Is flash justice the solution to flash riots? Only time will tell.  On that thought my cigar needs a light. Be safe out there.


What you wrote a book?

July 31st, 2011

You know I posted about finishing a manuscript and submitting it to a publisher.  What does it cover? Cyber-supervision is a broad topic. Well, it discusses the following topics: intro to cyber-crime and corrections;  legal issues on technology conditions being imposed; legal implications for compliance enforcement; assessing cyber-risk; search/seizure; monitoring software use; online investigations and more.  All of these topics are specific to community supervision officers (probation, parole, pretrial officers).  I am sure a few judges, parole adminstrators, prosecutors, and maybe a few attorneys will find it interesting.  I will keep you updated on the process and of course when it hits the shevles.


Update Status

July 31st, 2011

I just finished my manuscript and submitted it to my publisher on a book focusing on cyber-supervision. It was a long process but I am glad it is done. The publisher has it…will review for typos (thank goodness)…. get it back to me for indexing… and with luck it will be out in six months. Bottom line is I will be posting this week and be back in the saddle…cigar and all. By the way if you have a cybercrime topic you want me to consider or address, post a message to this blog entry.  Thank you for your patience.