Stalker Wizard project, with Cambridge Domestic Violence Tech Working Group and Tor Project. This group is working with advocates for survivors of domestic violence, who are often targeted for stalking and harassment by their abusers, who use their phones and social media to track them. The project will most likely focus on improving the useability of a web based app that helps domestic violence survivors understand how to improve their safety and avoid tracking by their abuser.
Needs: Has designer from org and wireframes but not any web dev experience, needs help building publishing app to show these stories and maybe do a map mashup. It's a story telling app. Mainly need front end development help to create a map interface that will help display interviews and stories.
High school surveillance project, with Urban Youth Collaborative. Urban Youth Collaborative (http://www.urbanyouthcollaborative.org). The UYC organizes youth in NYC schools, and they want to draw attention to stories of how NYPD surveil the high schools through officers in the schools, metal detectors, cameras in classes, and more. They want to gather stories from youth. They are leaning towards an app, but also, young people's phones are taken from them during the school day, so there are challenges.
A: we've been around since 97; organization is fluid and changes; we have organizaitonal and members around the country. We have a list serve, not just members, where peple interact; regular member calls where people interact quarterly; upmcoming conference 250 people; we do trainings, strategy sessions.
Our membership - legal service providers, grassroots orgs, youth based orgs, advocacy orgs, visitation program; people who are impacted; started with a lot of legal advocates and has shifted to grassroots groups too.
Q: How do you connect with people?
A: snail mail, email, talks, presentations, collaborating with members, and supporting them; as far as member comms, we're known for our list serve (high traffic), mass mailings, e-newsletters.
in terms of folks who don't know about hte issue we probabaly don't reach a lot of folks who don't know about hte issue. We try to funnel things out through our membership.
Sean FBrainstorm and discuss the following questions and record your thoughts on the Hackpad below:
Source: DWN’s Expose and Close One Year Later Report
“We have been given in our food trays expired juices, apples with worms in them, Jell-O that tastes like soap, left overs cooked differently up to three times in one week, but the worst was on August 18, 2013, for dinner we were served ground turkey meat, but the meat was so badly spoiled, a very foul smell spread all over the dorm. It was so bad, some gagged at the smell, others almost threw up when they notice maggots in the meat.”
Immigrant detained at Adelanto Detention Facility, California
“The day we arrived at [the facility] they had us without clothes, naked for two days, officials would enter the room and they would laugh at us.”
Want to build on some concepts. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the prisoners.
firstname.lastname@example.orgWe incarcerate more than anywhere around the world. This is true both in terms of rates (per capita) and absolute numbers. Even compared to China, North Korea, Russia. Our approach as a society as been way too punitive.
Becky HDoes this prevent recidivism? The US has one of the highest recidivism rates, and also the most punitive measures. Compared with countries in Europe, where sentences for the same crimes are 10 times smaller than in the US, and those countries have a lower rate of recidivism. In fact, there's an inverse relationship between degree of punitive measures and recidivism.
Aditi MSasha - I agree with the critique of the registry, but I don't think the argument only for 5% reoffend is a compelling one. I think it's too easy for people to counter that argument.
Willow BTestimony from federal ? is that there's no difference in recitivism between those on and off teh registery. Why are we spending all this money? Law enforcement couldn't answer.
We spend more on registries than on the social services.
95% of sexual offenses are committed by someone who's never been convicted of a sexual offense. Even if you kept all the people who did commit locked up, you're only addressing 5% of the behavior.
The increasing severity of the sentencing means a decrease in reporting. Child molestation mostly occurs within the family, and if you're a family member aware of abuse occuring in your family (or upon you by your care takers), the harm cauased to your family by incarceration is seen as more extreme than the abuse itself.
Founded 42 years ago to look at causes of harm, what precipitates someone to behave in a negative way that affects people adversely, how can we change how we view people who cause harm in a way that preserves their humanity?
As an org, we have chapters around the country, focused on specialized areas of policy. Reach out to members of the public and members of legislative communityto express to them alternatives to punitive systems. The trend over the last 30 years, starting with the war on drugs is away from a parole system which provided a flexible system you could be evaluated for release into a Truth In Sentencing Laws. These laws were designed, in theory, so that everyone convicted of a certain kind of offense would be given the same sentence. On the face, this makes sense, but this slowly began an escalation, creating our current prison system.
email@example.comAlternatives involve reorienting the response to harm away from just doing bad things to people we don't like, to focusing on how we can bring people back into communities and in a way so they behave as members of the community. It's hard, very hard, but much more effective over the long term.
Willow BThe way our organization approaches this is by telling individual stories to humanize people dehumanized by our criminal system. Victims in the way the people who caused them harm are viewed. How family members are affected by someone incarcerated (like the children of parents put in prison).
firstname.lastname@example.orgRecently we won a big victory at the FCC, who looked at prison phone rates. A petition that sat on the FCC desk for decades finally was ruled on: the FCC has dramaticaly changed the federal rates, which had been up to $1 per minute to those inside making a phone call.
Willow BThere are 2.7 million folks incarcerated in this country. Families of the incarcerated person who were having to fork over the money to talk to them. Children who couldn't talk to their loved ones were being harmed. Didn't have access to their parents - which increases the likelihood of their imprisonment.
Aditi MI also wanted to address the concept of the way we label things. There is a great power in naming. If we talk about groups of people as an offender or victim, we are inherently giving them power or marginalizing them. It might seem like a small thing, but the way we label people seems to stick to them. Labling someone others them. Never all of who that person is. The act of labeling can distance us from the reality of who the person is. It is an easy tool in the political side of things to control the narrative. People first language - impriosned but if you're an "offender," you're always an "offender." And our language has changed. You used to be an ex-con. Now we are talking about returning citizens (?)
Willow BCreate offices dedicated to re-entry, how that impacts public safety by reducing recidivism is huge. The returning ???. Distinct difference from the otherness of an offender.
War On Drugs Shaping Our Political System
email@example.comSkipping quickly over this: The 'War on Drugs' is more or less over. there are a lot of entrenched policies that are still targeting people. As a social policy, it's acknolwedged as dumb and we're digging out from it. The business of locking people up hasn't gone away. Still a multi-billion dollar industry. In CA, the larggest union in the State, which is the 5th largest economy in the world, is the prison guard union. So the business of locking people up has a lot of influence, a lot of power. They're looking for a new field to fill the dearth of beds, from drug convictions. Two candidate replacements are 1) the sex offender hysteria, and 2) the immigration detention phenomenon. Sex offending, as a human behavior - as a species our practices haven't changed that much in recent years, but the rates of conviction and incarceration have skyrocketed. So that will be the source to feed our prison industrial complex.
Becky HJosh Gravens, a Soros justice fellow with CURE.
At the age of 13, I was placed on the TX sex offender registry. In honesty, I touched my sister, I was 12 and she was 8. My mother found out about it and tried to get counseling to try to address this within the family and the next day CPS was at our door and I was in prison for the next 3.5 years. Then placed on the registry for life. As a kid I was given some relief.
“On November 1, I appeared before the original judge in my juvenile case. I sat in the witness stand and made a case for how the public registry has time and again brought an end to my successes. It was a very informal setting. The judge did not wear his robes, the district attorney was present, and they both asked me questions about my advocacy, employment, and most of all family… As the hearing proceeded, both the judge and the DA had their [copy of state] statutes out to make sure of exactly how the law worked. The removal of juveniles from the public registry had been a law on the books for ten years, but the judge in this case (who’s served 20+ years) and the district attorney, neither had ever used this law. This speaks volumes to how rare it is that someone is removed from the registry. Officials are very good at placing people on the sex offender registry, but when it comes to removal, they have no idea how.”
Willow BWe have a preconceived idea of what "sex offender" means, what they did. The prison industrial complex has taken off, and the War on Sexuality, more and more crimes have been scooped into registerable offenses. People who have stopped on the highway to pee, been convicted of public exposure. Sometimes in court or in prison, and on the registry for life.
Same for streaking. High schooler suspended, principal threw around the response to that. Registered for life. Under that pressure he commited suicide. Type in "sex offender" on twitter, see what comes up. The original intent in creating registeries was protecting children. But we've gone further and further, started to include people who haven't posed a threat to anyone. 95% will never commit another sex crime. And yet forever they are registered as a sex offender.
Especially in TX, 15 year old girl sending a semi-nude picture of herself, reciever shows it around, law enforcement gets involved. Can be charged as a federal crime as production and distribution of child pornography.
We never intended for children to be added to a registry!
If only 5% will recommit, why do we have a registry? We've removed teh public safety element out.
Something I did as a child means I now cannot provide for my wife and kids. Difficult to find a place that's legal to live.
Aditi MThe registry is a PR tool. Policitians want to show someting is being done for their constituents. They run out of stuff to enforce, so come up with new things. None of this actually protects the public, but it allows lawmakers to look like they are protecting your kids. We need to make a shift where the public is engaged and understand the laws, we are not actually going to have a legal system that can protect the kids.
Aditi MQ: Since this is wrong, and we are in a democratic country, who are our enemies and who are we fighting against and we are we persuading?
Willow BA: The general public - not as the enemy, but rather they are misinformed. They see a mysterious person with superpowers. If you have that perception, how do you change that?
A: Ignorance and self-interest. Not acting rationally, but out of fear. So politicians can fear monger. Every law maker who has supported our org on a sex offender issue nearly all get voted out of office the next term. Excellent law maker got run out of office by his opponent saying he was supporting pedophiles.
They're not stupid, just misinformed and manipulated.
Q: What is being done. Is the thought to remove the registery, or to do so in more steps with finer grain? Public urination is this category, which can be wiped out later because it doesn't matter.
Becky HA: That's an excellent question. We've talked about this and different organizations have different apporaches. We have a public position of advocating against all registries. The reason w'ere not advocating for making it incrementally better, with criminal justice legislation, being good can be the enemy of perfect. If it's not really terrible, if passed experience tells us that it has to be really terrible for there to be a change. The rest of hte industrialized world doesn't have public registries. We are tryign to bring the US in alignmeent with this.
Their lawmakers evaluated the effect on public safety, including the publics safety concerns of whether someone can reintegrate into society after being released. If you get out of prison and are as marginalized and destabilized as a person can be, than you are more likely to commit crimes.
Willow BChange to a law enforcement registery. No reason to be available to the public. Law enforcement will keep lists regardless. less concerning. Number of people in the US violated for being noncompliant with the registery... shouldn't be a felonious offence. Filling out a form, or within x hours, or whatever. It's a way to wrap people back into the system. Best place for a sex offender to be is in prison is the sentiment. Mandatory minimums should be incrimentally change
Some don't agree with law enforcement lists, the law enforcements can be even more poorly informed than others. Arbitrary lists of who to watch out for, when gov is far more in violation.
(leading) Q: in the conversations we've had, the most intersting (and horrifying and shocking) things that have come up have been teh micro ways in which the registery has affected your lives and others on teh registery. Every time you leave the state, you have to request permission. Josh has spoken about how he was unwillingly removed from facebook. Tiny moves that have to do with the surveillance state.
Punative aspects others haven't thought about.
Can you speak about that?
A: Facebook in 2009, and then I couldn't log in anymore, they did a purge and removed 26k people for having a facebook account. That's not a big deal, but .. how many people have a facebook? It's a fundamental part of society. Public safety - there's not reason for that. FB is a private company, can do whatever it wants, but it's not like I'm running for governer in CA.
Until I was removed from teh registery, I couldn't go to my kid's functions. Colleges won't let some people in. All sorts of punative things. you can't live within so mnay feet of a park. Residency restrictions - when I stayed with my inlaws, I got a $2k citation for sleeping within 2500 ft of a school.
A: Can't get a job most places, can't go to college in VA, DC (they'll take your app fee but not let you in), can't rent an apartment, could get bounced at customs in Tailand from National Tracking Center. When I get a ticket, DHS knows about it, notifies people in the other country. Blown a plane ticket, just get sent back.
Quick design exercise, glean ideas on user interface.
Aditi MWorking goals - Interested in looking raise awareness about the punitive aspects of the sex offender registry Much more than just being on a list. Humanization of people on the list.
+: There was a great range of experience and knowledge at the DiscoTech, allowing for a lot of learning and sharing of knowledge and ideas. Having various times for unstructured talk (opening, small groups, lunch, post-workshops, etc.) was definitely a good thing! Having the focus of surveillance did a lot to center conversations on cool/interesting topics.
-: I think there was a lot of focus on the class, class projects, etc. We have a lot of interesting projects and partner groups but it seemed that it was kind of the focus of the DiscoTech, rather than surveillance in general. I agree with what Sasha said about Saul's talk, and doing more to open the day more strongly.
Δ: I wish there were more people in general. The more people there are the more ideas and even structured events (opening talks, etc) there could/would be. Hitting my (minus) point a bit, I feel like it a future iteration could do more to put focus on the "surveillance" aspect. That being said, I do think it was a super awesome time and I definitely learned a lot!
+: Our workshop (threat-modeling) went well, and it provided us with the information that we were hoping to get out of it. We felt like people liked our materials, and the end-products were visually pleasing as well as informative. We also thought that a lot of interesting conversations occurred.
-: We thought there was not a diverse enough group of people or that there were not enough people in general. We also felt that later in the afternoon, the day was not structured enough and felt scattered.
Δ: We wished the energy level had been higher with more music or more events going on. We also felt like we spent all of our time at our own workshop, and we didn't get a chance to see/stop by the other workshop stations, so maybe staggered workshop sessions or categories of workshops (more workshops!) happening at the same time.
Miho K+: It was nice to have Josh, our project partner, representing CURE themselves and people seemed to get interested in their work more.
+: Hands-on workshops covered many topics - they were interesting and fun.
+: Attendees were very engaged and interested in any projects in general, and their feedback was very valuable.
+: We could meet people (actually a person) who want to help our project!
+: Free-style was good to allow flexibility of attendance. Anyone can hop in and out of multiple projects pretty easily.
Susanna P-: For our project specific workshop, we had difficulty controlling the trajectory of the group discussions and didn't get as much direct feedback as we hoped for. We also didn't thoroughly document the work that we did (through photos, videos, etc...).
Miho K-: we couldn't control the conversation and didn't get as many feedback as we wanted in terms of quantity
Susanna PΔ: More interactions with other simultaneous DiscoTechs
+ The facepaint workshop went surprisingly well! I even got to facepaint a young girl while her mom talked about surveillance with her (train them young?) I also enjoyed the public art discussion, and there were a lot of different people from different backgrounds.
- The two people who were really excited to talk about juvenile discipline in the beginning ended up leaving before we could talk to them. Also, the youth orgs we invited didn't show up..
Δ I would've enjoyed more talks like Saul's with specific focuses on certain surveillance aspects (the DIY talk on public art, for example, could've had it's own short talk/ presentation.) I also would've enjoyed more interaction with the other discotechs.