One of the casualties of the pandemic was UC Berkeley grad Esteem Brumfield’s Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, where he was researching the country’s prison system. It was canceled. But don’t worry about him; he’s already falling back on Plan B: going to grad school this fall at Brown, where he’ll be studying the connection between health care and incarceration.
In May 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a program called Rapid DNA testing—subjecting families crossing the Mexican border to cheek swab tests, which produce extensive DNA profiles in less than two hours that are entered into a national criminal database. The initial pilot program, begun this summer, was ostensibly rolled out to identify “fraudulent family units”—groups of children and adults who are not blood-related but were trying to achieve special immigration status—and prosecute them for fraud.
Posted on August 20, 2020 - 2:28pm
Last month’s arrest of NorCal Rapist suspect, Roy Charles Waller, sent shockwaves across the Cal campus and the state. Waller, after all, was a longtime employee of UC Berkeley’s Office of Environment, Health and Safety, and his capture resulted from a new forensic tool that promises to solve many cold cases: open-source genealogical databases.
Posted on October 11, 2018 - 3:05pm
Elon Musk has taken some heat over the past few months for selling flamethrowers through his firm, The Boring Company. The devices aren’t actual flamethrowers, though, hence their name: Not a Flamethrower. They’re more like hypertrophied blowtorches, perfect for caramelizing a crème brulee the size of a garbage can lid, perhaps, but thankfully unsuited for combat. Musk’s devices use propane and spout a three-to-four foot fixed flame. True military flamethrowers spew burning jellied gasoline up to 150 feet.
Posted on June 6, 2018 - 5:30pm
Danny Brown was in prison for almost two decades for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, and he has evidence to prove it: a host of eyewitness accounts validating his alibi, a polygraph test he took, and passed, at the prosecution’s request, and DNA from the crime scene matching that of another man who is currently serving time for a factually similar rape and murder.
He was released from prison in 2001 at the age of 45.
“Screw the system” was a prevailing theme of Friday’s talks at Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Several speakers indicted the status quo for inflicting criminal, economic and political injustice, and called for the dismantling and then reconstruction of those systems to create a fairer society.
Posted on October 16, 2015 - 7:02pm
Franklin Zimring calls it “scandalous.”
The UC Berkeley law professor—one of the nation’s leading criminal justice experts—is referring to what he discovered when he set out to analyze four decades worth of FBI data on police and citizen killings. Incidents in which citizens killed on-duty police officers had been meticulously recorded. But when police killed citizens? Those incidents were recorded haphazardly, if at all.
In fact, the data was so spotty that he had to resort to finding cases on Wikipedia.
Posted on January 22, 2015 - 5:09pm
For several thousand lucky prisoners now languishing in California’s jails and prisons, last week’s passage of Proposition 47 is an early Christmas present: A get-out-of-jail-free card.
Posted on November 13, 2014 - 3:16pm
Incarceration remains a growing trend in the Land of the Free. The United States, with only 5 percent of the global population, accounts for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. And as a recent New Yorker article reveals, a trend toward the privatization of criminal justice has only made things worse.
Posted on July 2, 2014 - 10:14am