Boing Boing 

America's prison population, by the numbers

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Quinn Norton's "long form data journalism" piece on the American prison system paints a bleak picture of a nation that feasts on its poorest and most vulnerable with a boundless, venomous cruelty.

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Police admit falsely arresting teen rape victim: "this is what happens when you lie."

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A 17-year-old rape victim, treated with callous indifference and arrested by UK police who accused her of lying, has been awarded £20,000 in a settlement.

Hampshire Constabulary apologized for refusing to properly investigate the victim's complaint, and admitted liability for false imprisonment and assault.

The girl was attacked in April 2012, reported it immediately, and provided her clothing for forensic analysis. But police decided within two days that she was lying and threatened her, The Guardian reports, with charges of her own should she pursue the matter.

When she did so, she was arrested on suspicion of "perverting the course of justice," and was told by one detective that "this is what happens when you lie."

The police failed to test the evidence and, reportedly, were told by a supervisor to "fucking nick her."

"I was horrified," her mother told the BBC. "A woman comes forward and tells the police authority she has been raped: You expect them to do everything they can to put the rapist away."

The case only proceeded months later after an official complaint was made, prompting prosecutors to ask for thorough tests on the garments.

The attacker, Liam Foard, was subsequently identified. After denying any sexual contact at all with his victim, he was convicted and jailed for five years in 2013. But it's taken another two years—and a lawsuit filed under human rights legislation—for Hampshire Constabulary to say sorry.

In the meantime, one of the officers responsible for the girls treatment was given a written warning, and three others allowed to resign or retire before the investigation into their conduct could be completed. Ten other officers received "management action."

"Given that she had been raped, reported the matter to the police and now found herself under arrest and being accused of lying, this must have been a particularly traumatic experience," an internal review concluded. "Clearly, had the rape investigation been completed to the required standard, she would never have been arrested and interviewed."

Local police have issued statements promising it will not happen again.

"I would like to reassure all victims of sexual assault that we do take you seriously," Chief Superintendent David Powell told reporters. "We do believe you, we appreciate how hard it is to come forward to report these offences, we do not judge you and we are committed to ensuring a professional and supportive response. We are doing everything to ensure we never have an initial response like this again."

"I am appalled by the way the victim and her family have been treated in this case and would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to them," wrote Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire. "It is entirely unacceptable for victims of crime not to be listened to and taken seriously. I would like to reassure the public that since I have been in post there have been significant changes to the way sexual assault cases are handled by the Constabulary. These changes in procedure should mean that the series of events that led to this particular victim being re-victimised by the police and not receiving appropriate justice, would not be permitted to happen again in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight."

But the family's lawyer, Debaleena Dasgupta, says that without the Human Rights act, it would have been far more difficult to get justice.

"Many people wrongly assume the police have a legal obligation to investigate crimes," wrote Dasgupta in a press release. "However, the only way victims of crime can seek justice for these sorts of issues is using the Human Rights Act, which imposes a duty on the police to properly investigate very serious offences."

Hamster eaten to prove "how dear life is" to children

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A teacher in rural South Korea is under investigation after he reportedly killed a live rodent in front of children and then ate it.

After observing the youngsters hurting hamsters, the man, 44, did so in order to teach them “how dear life is,” according to a report in the Korea Times.

He is identified only as "Yu" in media reports.

After the incident, which took place at a boarding school in Jeongeup on May 11, Yu also allegedly used "abusive language," but left the facility when other teachers learned of his actions. Parents claim that their children were asked not to discuss what happened.

Yu, charged with "child abuse," told Yonhap News Agency that he was bitten by a rat as a youngster and fears them, and has apologized for eating the hamster: "I couldn't control the situation and couldn't stand it. While watching the hamsters die from teasing, I thought I should teach the children it was wrong to make light of life."

US Passport Agency contractors harvested Americans' data for identity theft


Chloe McClendon worked for a State Department contractor, and conspired with two others to steal the identities of passport applicants by photographing their applications while processing them.

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Don't come to your court-date in a lime-green Batman costume

Honestly, it should go without saying.

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Court says DEA is allowed to secretly fill your truck with weed, get into firefights with Zetas


Craig Patty asked his employee Lawrence Chapa to help take one of his two trucks to the garage, not realizing that Chapa was a DEA undercover planning to fill the truck with weed, which ended in a firefight with a Los Zetas hit squad that killed the driver, who was a DEA informant.

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Town will cut off power to families of kids who commit vandalism


If your child commits vandalism, the Farmer City, IL council want to cut off electrical power to your house.

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Ransomware decryptor


If you or someone you love has been hijacked by Coinvault ransomware -- malware that encrypts your data and won't decrypt it unless you transfer Bitcoin to criminals -- Kaspersky may be able to help you (via Hacker News)

$17 radio amp lets thieves steal Priuses

If your car has a proximity-based ignition fob that lets you start the engine without inserting a key, thieves on the street in front of your house can use an amp to detect its signal from your house and relay it to the car, getting away clean.

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Arkansas cops send malware to whistleblowers' lawyers

An Arkansas lawyer representing ex-cops who blew the whistle on corruption in the Fort Smith Police Department says that when he gave the police brass a blank hard-drive for discovery documents, they returned it laden with sneaky malware, including a password-sniffing keylogger and a backdoor that would let the police department spy on their legal opponents.

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DEA and Secret Service agent charged in Silk Road fraud schemes

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Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges were charged this week with money laundering and wire fraud stemming from their involvement in the Silk Road dark web undercover investigation.

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San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy ring accused of pit-fighting inmates

San Francisco sheriff's deputy Scott Neu is accused of leading a ring of corrupt jail guards who coerced prisoners into gladiatorial combat with threats of rape and violence.

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Tonka criminals attempt to crack ATM with backhoe

It takes certain hubris to commit a crime with a 7-ton, 20 mph max speed vehicle. On January 4 in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, unknown suspects tried to smash open a Bank of America ATM with a Caterpillar 420D. A similar incident happened a few days prior in Bessemer City, NC. (They should probably design the ATMs to look like giant pigs.)

In late February, a Rochester, New York, man was arrested after he dug a 40-foot-long, 12-foot-deep hole in a rural road at night using an excavator, apparently for fun.

Improving the estimate of US police killings


Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group applied the same statistical rigor that he uses in estimating the scale of atrocities and genocides for Truth and Reconciliation panels in countries like Syria and Guatemala to the problem of estimating killing by US cops, and came up with horrific conclusions.

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Judge who invented Ferguson's debtor's prisons owes $170K in tax


Judge Ronald J Brockmeyer -- who filled Ferguson's coffers by fining its poorest residents and sent them to inhumane, overcrowded prisons when they couldn't pay a few hundred dollars -- stands accused of fixing fines for his cronies, and owes $170K in unpaid taxes.

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Justice Department issues "scorching" report on Ferguson's Police Department


The police department "routinely" blocks citizens from recording their activities under a bizarre rubric of "officer safety," according to the Justice Department's investigation.

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The book thieves of 1990s London


In the 1990s, London was home to notorious book-thieves who stole to order for the shops of Charing Cross road, who paid a fraction of cover-price for them -- meaning that each thief would have to steal £50,000/year worth of books (and often stole more).

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