NFL Fumbles Again  — This Time On Greg Hardy Case

Another pro football season, another horrific domestic violence case involving an NFL player.

Last year it was Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. This year it’s the aftermath of the Greg Hardy case.

According to a harrowing account by the sports news and commentary website Deadspin, Hardy’s then gNFL-Footballirlfriend, Nicole Holder ran from Hardy’s Charlotte, N.C., apartment in 2014 minutes after “he had, she said, thrown her against a tile bathtub wall, tossed her on a futon covered in assault rifles, and choked her until she told him to ‘kill me so I don’t have to.’”

When a police officer ordered her to stop and asked why she was crying, she gave this heartbreaking response: “It doesn’t matter. Nothing is going to happen to him anyways.” As Deadspin noted, she was, unfortunately, right:

Last year, Hardy was convicted of assault in a bench trial, but the charges were dismissed on appeal and, it was reported yesterday, expunged. He missed more than a season of football, but went on to sign with the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he’s become a bigger star than ever despite (or perhaps because of) a series of incidents ranging from making sexist comments in a press conference to going after a coach on the sidelines. Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ billionaire owner, calls him a “real leader” who has the respect of all his teammates and inspires America’s Team.

Once again, a professional athlete – a highly paid celebrity who makes his living from an arguably violent sport – was not held accountable for a vicious attack on his intimate partner. Accountability for the offender is key to our work at Big Mountain Data. If the big guys – celebrities, athletes, wealthy men, cops – aren’t held accountable, it’s unlikely that the Average Joe taking out his aggressions on the woman he supposedly loves will ever pay the price for his unacceptable behavior.

Holder accepted a settlement from Hardy, which means she’s no longer talking about the case. Still, the Hardy case echoes patterns we’ve heard before:

  •             The abuse escalated over time.
  •             Weapons were in the home where the abuse occurred.
  •             The victim underplayed the abuse, saying she “fell down the stairs.”
  •             The victim told police she had not reported previous abuse because she feared the perpetrator.
  •             The perpetrator claims HE is the victim, although photo evidence from the police clearly disputes that.
  •             On the opening day the trial, a judge threw out the case when the accuser stopped cooperating with prosecutors.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has faced criticism for signing and supporting Hardy. In response to Deadspin’s account of the Hardy case, SI.com’s Doug Farrar called on the NFL to take action on domestic violence. NFL leaders had seen the police photos of the Hardy case before Deadspin published them, he noted.

“The NFL needs to come out and say, ‘we have screwed this up royally,’” Farrar said. “The NFL has to do something real, not an empty statement from the leader, but something real.”

Here’s a thought: How about no longer enabling players who beat up women? Stop fumbling your response to domestic violence.

 

Who is Keeping Track of the Dead? This woman.

2015-11-19-1447944639-6154714-ChristineArmstrong.jpgEvery day, for the past fifteen years, Christine Armstrong sits at her computer and scans the overnight news stories for deaths related to domestic violence.  These days, she limits her research time to four hours a day. Well, she tries anyway.

Her quest began in 2000 when Armstrong had a personal brush with domestic violence and then helped a friend escape an extremely dangerous marriage.  At the time, she was living in New York City working in the television business. Her experience prompted her to learn everything she could about domestic violence.  After her research revealed how prevalent domestic violence homicides were around the country, she was surprised she wasn’t able to find any documentation other than a few hundred names on a national organization’s web site. Horrified, and knowing there there were many, many more victims as a result of her own investigation, she began searching them out and documenting them with calendars.

Today in 2015, she has honed a sophisticated practice of conducting news searches that scour the web using over 27 different keyword combinations that turn up homicide stories every day that the media doesn’t always correctly identify as domestic violence related.  This unfortunate practice of “missing” the domestic violence connection to homicides is one that has been well-documented in academic and journalism circles. According to researcher Lane Kirkland Gillespie, assistant professor in the department of criminal justice at Boise State University, “Recent studies find only about one-quarter to one-third of news stories utilize language that identifies the homicide as domestic violence; and a lesser amount, 10-15%, specifically discuss intimate partner homicide in the context of domestic violence as a broader social issue.” (See her academic paper on the subject.)

Soon after she began her record-keeping, Armstong started volunteering in the field educating others about domestic violence.  She kept up the chronicling of domestic violence homicides from 2001 to 2004.  In 2005, she relocated to Alabama and went to work for a local shelter where for the next seven years she would continue to research the stories, keep calendars, notebooks, and spreadsheets of data as part of her day job.  She eventually built a web site, 2015-11-18-1447864608-1178054-f.pngand launched a Facebook page where she could post daily stories for the public.  That Facebook page has grown to more than 28,000 fans with thousands of posts over the last few years.  She left the shelter in 2011, and two years ago she had to take the web site down, as it was difficult to justify the expense and time maintaining the platform.

Yet, her work has continued even though now she is employed outside the field.  Publishing at least a half dozen different news reports a day, she tracks it all: women, men, parents, grandparents, children, neighbors, co-workers, law enforcement officers, and any other bystanders impacted by these crimes.  On average, Armstrong is documenting approximately 1,800 names a year that have been directly touched by domestic violence homicides.  Her spreadsheets contain over 14,000 names.  She keeps a running list of missing and unsolved cases she’s turned up over the years.  The list includes more than 800 missing women where domestic violence is known or is believed to have been a factor in their disappearance. You can see their photos on her Facebook photo albums.

“I do this work because, to my knowledge, no one else is doing it and many of these victims aren’t even included in domestic violence statistics. A lot more people are dying from domestic violence crimes than most people realize. These are real people with lives. Their loved ones have been in touch with me and would like to see some good come from their loss.” – Christine Armstrong

As difficult as this work is, Armstrong perseveres.  What’s most alarming to her is how little things have changed over fifteen years.  She sees the same stories in 2015 she saw in 2001.  The stories reveal how common it is for a domestic violence homicide suspect to have several contacts with the police and the courts with little or no consequence.  She notes that with 18,000 separate police departments and justice systems in the country, progress is sketchy and piecemeal.  The quality of service a domestic violence victim receives largely depends on where they live, and sadly, the majority of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges don’t know how to recognize a domestic violence case when the clues are so obvious.  “Rarely does a day go by that I don’t see a story where some law enforcement officer, prosecutor or judge declined to intervene in a high risk case and now another person is dead,” she says.

Armstrong points out some of the worst to suffer are the thousands of children who have lost one or both parents to domestic violence.  Even worse, many have witnessed the violent deaths of one or both of their parents. Left orphaned, many end up in the custody of the state and in foster homes.

One trend Armstrong has observed is particularly troubling. Her data reveals there are more homicides stemming from dating relationships than married relationships in the past few years. Advocates have long been seeking equal protection in dating relationships, particularly as it relates to protection orders and removal of firearms. Progress has been slow, yet the body counts mount.

As a whole, Armstrong  feels we don’t seem to be learning much from our mistakes.  A lot of the change that does take place, seems to take a tragic death and a high profile lawsuit to make it happen. She’s disappointed and somewhat shocked in light of recent national media attention that there isn’t much unity in our national response to this chronic social epidemic. She says, “While response has improved in some of our communities, much work still needs to be done – an incredible amount of work.”

Armstrong is doing her part.

 

Sneak Peek at Insights from Key Players in “Turning Point”

screenAmong the mountains of programs devoted to addressing the plague of domestic violence, the police initiative in High Point, N.C., stands out for it bold approach to holding offenders accountable. Big Mountain Data will showcase the High Point Model in a documentary debuting this fall. “Turning Point” will tell the groundbreaking story of the program’s success so far. In three years, the city has nearly eliminated domestic violence homicides and decreased repeat offender recidivism.

The story, filmed on location in North Carolina and New York City, features in-depth interviews with the key players who came together to create the High Point Model – an innovative program targeting the root of the problem: the offenders.

High Point began developing the program after domestic violence reached record-breaking highs in calls for service in 2008. After doing research, police detectives discovered that the majority of domestic offenders were also committing violent crimes on the street. Officers began tracking down offenders one by one, to deliver a stern warning: “We know who you are. If you beat your girlfriend again, we’ll lock you up for a long time. And by the way, she didn’t ask us to do this.”

Of the 1,142 offenders who received a deterrence message since the rollout in 2009, only 14 percent have reoffended. Last year, domestic calls for service in High Point dropped by 30 percent. Injuries to women have dropped dramatically, and domestic homicides have nearly stopped. The initiative is now being piloted in four cities around the country, with many more interested.

With film production underway, we’re sharing some highlights from interviews. First, we’ll set the scene in High Point. Future posts will describe the role of the community and specific elements of the High Point Model.

High Point is a city of about 107,000 people; its 50.6 square miles touch four counties. The city’s claim to fame is its history as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Twice a year, international visitors flood the city for weeklong furniture and finishing markets.

Total violent crime in High Point decreased 72 percent from 1994 to 2007, according to the police department. Murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault all declined since 1997, when the police department partnered with High Point Community Against Violence (HPCAV) and focused on crime deterrence initiatives. Still, In 2012-2013, domestic violence remained the top reason for citizen calls to the police.

jimJim Summey, executive director of HPCAV, told our film crew that crack cocaine began taking its toll on city communities in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The city saw an increase in prostitution, robberies, gun use, and murder.  In response to rising crime and growing frustration, High Point’s then-Police Chief Louis Quijas in 1997 invited the community to dialogue with law enforcement.

“They (the police) were not uncaring; they were just as baffled with how to deal with this as anyone else,” Summey said. The police share “where their concerns all are, where they have knowledge of crime. We’re sharing what we know, what we see,” he said.

The dialogue led to the creation of HPCAV, and the model for holding offenders accountable grew out of that partnership. Through direct confrontation and interaction with repeat offenders, the city saw a drop in crime and a decline in crimes by repeat offenders. But the police department continued to receive high numbers of domestic violence calls. That, Summey said, was the “big elephant in the room.” In 2008, the community worked together to apply focused deterrence strategies in an effort to reduce the rate of repeat offender recidivism.

Domestic violence is an “across the board sickness,” Summey said. “We’ve actually had people of all socioeconomic situations and we’ve told them all it’s wrong. And that’s the power of it. It’s not done to pick on anybody; it’s done because it’s wrong. … It really hurts so many people. And it destroys lives.”

Tech Mogul Previously Charged With 45 Counts of Felony Domestic Violence is Being Sued, Again

Gurbaksh “G” Chahal is back in the news. Though previously labeled as one of “The World’s Richest and Fittest” by Men’s Health and featured as one of Extra’s Most Eligible Bachelors, in recent years the tech mogul is most widely recognized for his startlingly bad reputation. It comes as no surprise then that Chahal is being sued again. This time in federal court.

After being ousted as CEO from RadiumOne for a domestic violence conviction, Chahal started a competing company Gravity4. The lawsuit alleges Chahal, worth upwards of $200 million, pressured an employee, 20-year-old Yousef Khraibut, to take prescription drugs and illegal substances, spied on him and other employees, perpetuated a misogynist and racist working environment, and asked Khraibut to lie to police about details related to his second reported domestic violence offense. Chahal is also currently being sued by Erika Alonso, a former marketing executive at Gravity4, for gender discrimination and illegal surveillance.

Chahal

The details outlined in the most recent lawsuit filed by Khraibut are sordid and horrifying even without the mention of domestic violence, though both incidents are indeed included. The executive previously faced 45 felony charges after security footage from his penthouse apartment allegedly showed him threatening to kill his girlfriend while hitting and kicking her 117 times in the span of half an hour. According to police, the girlfriend said it was not the first time. However, Chahal was able to cut a deal for three years probation, 52 weeks in a domestic violence training program, 25 hours of community service, and a $500 fine after the video footage was found inadmissible and the girlfriend stopped cooperating with police. New evidence suggests Chahal paid San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to make the first charge “go away” so as not to threaten plans to raise $100 million during the anticipated RadiumOne IPO. Additionally, according to Khraibut, the victim was paid up to $4 million dollars to be silent. Other notable items from the lawsuit include claims that Chahal admitted to hitting his girlfriend with a pillow while rebutting the District Attorney’s assertion that a pillow can be deadly weapon and that he “just shook her and slapped her [his girlfriend],” but did not hurt her.This was the first reported incident. Khraibut claims Chahal asked him to help cover up the second incident which allegedly occurred while Chahal was on probation for the first.

According to Khraibut, Chahal called him to his penthouse after Chahal’s girlfriend called police reporting that he kicked her repeatedly, grabbed her hair, and pushed her against a wall. Chahal allegedly asked Khraibut to say he was present during the attack and corroborate claims that a bodyguard was also present. According to the lawsuit, Khraibut refused, enraging Chahal which led to further harassment and eventually the unlawful termination of Khraibut. The hearing to determine whether this offense violated Chahal’s probation has been postponed to November 13.

While it’s quite possible Chahal bought himself out of 45 felony counts of domestic violence, perhaps what’s most notable are the familiar circumstances which make this case unexceptional. Chahal is a repeat offender who was able to utilize his resources to manipulate the justice system and silence his victims. Sadly, in those ways, it’s really just like any other case.

We Like Trend Of Using Facebook To Find Offenders

facebooklogoWe wrote earlier this year about the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who made chilling and vivid threats on Facebook to harm his estranged wife and others. Anthony Elonis had been convicted and sentenced to 44 months in prison. In fighting the conviction, Elonis argued his posts (which he continued despite a restraining order) were meant as jokes and, therefore, qualify for First Amendment protection. He also argued that the jury must find that he intended his Facebook posts to be threatening.

Since the June Supreme Court ruling did not address the First Amendment question, media attention about the case contributed to an important conversation about the increasing, and ever-changing, role of social media as a tool for offenders to stalk, harass and threaten their victims.

But turnabout is fair play.

The sheriff’s office in Shelby County, Tennessee is using Facebook to look for more than 1,300 domestic violence offenders. Sgt. Mickey Keaton, aka The Facebook Guy, told the Memphis Fox station that within 15 minutes of posting domestic violence arrest warrants on the Shelby County Sheriff’s Facebook page, he’s received calls and texts about the offenders’ locations. In one case, a suspect surrendered within 30 minutes of a post about him.

“A lot of these people, their victims are already willing to talk with us so we can usually contact them, especially if it’s a spouse, ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, and they usually have an idea of where they might be or where they’re working,” Keaton told the Fox station.

likeUsing Facebook and other forms of social media to find offenders follows the tradition of television crime shows like “America’s Most Wanted.” Law enforcement can leverage social media’s broad reach to share information about public safety threats. And posting domestic violence arrest warrants on Facebook has the potential to hold offenders accountable by publicly naming them and their crime.

We give a hearty “like” to this Facebook trend.

When The Batterer Hides Behind A Badge

Advocates often cite fear, shame and stigma as reasons some domestic violence victims hesitate to report their abuse. Turns out those pressures may be even stronger among families with a member working in law enforcement.

Two studies cited by the National Center for Women and Policing (NCWP), at least 40 percent of law enforcement families experience domestic violence. That’s four times as high an incidence than in families in the general population.

policebadgeVictims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because their offender has a gun, knows the location of women’s shelters and “knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim, according to the NCWP.  The organization also notes a failure of police department policies and a history of “exceedingly light discipline.”

Family violence by law enforcement is especially heinous because of its misuse of power. When cops refuse to police themselves, it’s the worst example of the Thin Blue Line.

Retired Capt. Donna Roman Hernandez, who served 29 years in law enforcement in New Jersey, bravely shares her abuse at the hands her police officer father on the website corrections.com.

“My fear was that if I disclosed the abuse to my police department, would they question how I could I protect others if I could not protect myself?” Hernandez writes. “Throughout my law enforcement career I never disclosed the abuse. I suffered in silence and hid my bruises and scars underneath my police uniform, guarded my family’s secret and internalized the guilt and shame of the abuse. Ironically, I arrested domestic violence offenders for the same acts of violence I allowed my father to perpetrate upon me.”

She shares a harrowing account of finally standing up to her father after he abused her and her mother for years. Her experience, she writes, “speaks to the global widespread epidemics of child abuse and domestic violence that affect women and men from all socioeconomic groups, races, cultures, religions and professions, including law enforcement.”

She concludes with a core philosophy of Big Mountain Data: All domestic violence offenders must be held accountable – even if the abuser is a cop.

Guns Turn Domestic Violence Into Domestic Homicide, Report Says

South Carolina, Alaska and New Mexico top the list of high rates of women murdered by men,  according to the new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2013 Homicide Data.”

The study, released in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, found that nationwide, 94 percent of women killed by men were murdered by someone they knew, and the most common weapon used was a gun.VPCreport coverThe study applies to 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. It covers homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, and uses data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

A total of 1,615 females in the United States were murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013, at a rate of 1.09 per 100,000. The report found that 94 percent of female victims were murdered by a male they knew.

According to the report, 280 of the women murdered in 2013 were shot and killed by either their husband or intimate acquaintance during an argument. “This is the exact scenario – the lone male attacker and the vulnerable woman – that is often used to promote gun ownership among women,” the report notes. “Women face the greatest threat from someone they know, most often a spouse or an intimate acquaintance, who is armed with a gun. For women in America, guns are not used to save lives, but to take them.”

“When men murder women, the most common weapon used is a gun,” Julia Wyman, executive director of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a press release. “Closing gaps in state and federal gun laws will save women’s lives.”

Despite the grim statistics, the overall trend of women murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has declined. In 1996, the rate was 1.57 per 100,000 women, compared to 1.09 women in 2013. That’s a 31 percent decrease.

Here are the 10 states with the highest rate of females murdered by males in single victim/single offender incidents in 2013:

  • South Carolina: 2.32 per 100,000
  • Alaska: 2.29 per 100,000
  • New Mexico: 2.00 per 100,000
  • Louisiana: 1.99 per 100,000
  • Nevada: 1.95 per 100,000
  • (tie)Tennessee: 1.65 per 100,000
  • (tie) Oklahoma: 1.65 per 100,000
  • Vermont: 1.58 per 100,000
  • Maine: 1.47 per 100,000
  • Michigan: 1.45 per 100,000

NCAA Teams’ Wait and See Approach to Domestic Violence Unsurprisingly Ineffective

After Rutgers’ close loss to Washington State on September 12, Rutgers’ leading receiver Leonte Carroo slammed a woman onto the concrete. The victim sustained injuries to her hip, both her palms, and the left side of her head. As stated in the complaint filed in municipal court, the 20-year-old victim and Carroo previously dated. According to the victim in a phone interview with The Record, she remembers being picked up and dropped and “going high in the air.” She also expressed concern about backlash from the football player’s many supporters, adding, “I hope they don’t blame it [the suspension] on me.”

Carroo, a 2014 Big 10 Selection who recently opted out of the NFL draft, has pled not guilty to a domestic-violence related charge and is out on $1000 bail. One of seven players arrested in the last month for various charges including home invasion and assault, Carroo has been suspended indefinitely from the team.

Coincidentally, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood was also suspended the following week for three games and fined $50,000 after a university investigation found that he inappropriately communicated with a player’s instructor in regard to an academic issue. Yet, despite the recent criminal and unethical behavior,  Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann says the program still has her unwavering support. “I can tell you from my personal interactions that this locker room is filled with the type of leaders and quality young men that will continue to serve as exemplary ambassadors for the university,” she said in a September 14 statement.

Rutgers’ player Leonte Carroo (Photo: Ed Mulholland, USA TODAY Sports)

Of course, the events at Rutgers didn’t happen in a vacuum. In May, Louisiana State University (LSU) reserve offensive lineman Jevonte Domond was arrested on a felony charge of battery and domestic abuse, including strangulation. Initially suspended and with charges still pending, Domond is back on the team without having missed so much as a practice. “We’re letting the disposition of whatever entanglement he’s involved in run its course. He’s not suspended,” said head football coach Les Miles speaking to media after the start of fall training camp. 

Unfortunately, LSU is not the only university utilizing a  “wait and see” approach.

Just last month Baylor University defensive end Sam Ukwuachu was found guilty of second-degree sexual assault. Ukwuachu, a freshman All-American, transferred to Baylor in 2013 following dismissal from the Boise State football team for erratic behavior and a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. According to officials at Boise State, they were unaware of reports of violence committed by Ukwuachu against his girlfriend at the time and his dismissal was unrelated.

In the face of Ukwuachu’s indictment for sexual assault against a different woman while at Baylor, Baylor did acknowledge he had “some issues.” After sitting out in 2014 for unknown reasons (despite being eligible to play), he was expected to be on the field for the 2015 season. However, following Ukwuachu’s conviction for second-degree sexual assault, he was sentenced to six months in jail, 10 years of felony probation, and 400 hours of community service.

 

#WhyIStayed #WhyILeft: A Data Analysis

PRESS RELEASE:

#WhyIStayed #WhyILeft: Big Mountain Data Shares Findings from Landmark Social Conversation on Domestic Violence

Organization Draws on Data from Viral Social Media Event to Reveal Scale of Domestic Violence. Survivors Find Their Voice and Strength in Numbers.

Visualization of hashtags

A Social Network Visualization of the Hashtag Activity

LAKE MARY, Fla. (September 8, 2015)Big Mountain Data, an organization focused on developing data-driven solutions to help in the fight against family abuse and violence, announced today the release of new insights into the impact of domestic violence on women, including why many stay in abusive relationships and why they ultimately leave. Based on the scale of the viral #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft Twitter conversations, the event represents a milestone in domestic violence history, as thousands of abuse survivors came forward independently on social media to tell their stories.

Susan Scrupski, founder of Big Mountain Data, commented, “The number of women who bravely came forward to tell their authentic stories of abuse and their reasons for staying or leaving brought the topic of domestic violence front and center, highlighting the pervasiveness of the problem in our society.”

Developed with its partners, Salesforce and The Tremendousness Collective, Big Mountain Data’s release of this data coincides with the one-year anniversary of when the world witnessed the tragic video of professional football player Ray Rice abusing his then-fiancée in an elevator at an Atlantic City, N.J. hotel. Though horrific to watch, the video had one unintended positive consequence: it got people talking about domestic violence. Yet in addition to voicing outrage at the incident, many Twitter users had the same question about Rice’s fiancee: “Why didn’t she just leave?”

infographic_artIn response to this criticism of the victim, a survivor of domestic abuse, Beverly Gooden, shared her story of why she stayed in an abusive relationship. Soon after, more and more women began to share their own stories on Twitter under the hashtag, #WhyIStayed. As the conversation proliferated, more survivors came forward with their stories of leaving their abusers, and another hashtag was created: #WhyILeft. The posts quickly became the #1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.

Big Mountain Data, which uses advanced analytics and data science to help solve pressing social problems in the fields of domestic violence and family abuse, recognized the importance of this Twitter phenomenon as a turning point in the public conversation on domestic violence. The organization aggregated the activity over the period September 8 to December 1, 2014, to reveal the scale and magnitude of the survivor voices who came forward. The conversation spiked on September 9 with 77,544 tweets in one day. With 85,687 original hashtagged posts and mentions, and nearly 185,794 posts and retweets for #WhyIStayed and 63,883 posts and retweets for #WhyILeft, the results provide a glimpse into the complexity and scale of intimate partner violence. Most importantly, the fast-paced, viral exchange empowered survivors to come forward en masse from out of the shadows of an abusive past. Survivors found refuge and resolve in the community that grew organically with each subsequent tweet and media mention.

“Our goal is to leverage the power of big data analysis in the fight against domestic abuse,” said Scrupski. “Transparency is the antidote to a social epidemic that thrives on secrecy. In the magnitude of the response, women displaced their shame with a moral obligation to educate the public about the realities of living with an abusive partner.”

“As designers, our goal is to create clarity and impact,” added Scott Goldstein, a co-founder of The Tremendousness Collective. “We’re proud to have collaborated on this project. Domestic violence and family abuse is an important issue and the survivors who shared their stories deserve our continued attention and support.”

Big Mountain Data has presented the findings of this analysis in an infographic and a detailed presentation. The company will also offer the data on its open data platform hosted by Socrata, enabling researchers to conduct their own in-depth analysis on this important subject.

 

About Big Mountain Data

Big Mountain Data employs advanced analytics and data science to support partners and clients as they solve pressing social problems in the fields of domestic violence and family abuse. We offer services to organizations that seek to have positive social impact: non-profits, social enterprises, foundations, law enforcement, government agencies, and businesses aligned with our mission.

About The Tremendousness Collective

The Tremendousness Collective is a design firm that makes complex things understandable and engaging by combining visual frameworks with narrative stories. We explain complex ideas, innovations, products, and processes across multiple mediums including videos, infographics, data visualizations, presentations, visual maps and posters, editorial design and illustration, collaborative workshops, brand identities, and more.

# # #

Note to editors: Trademarks and registered trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

Media Contacts:

Susan Scrupski, Founder, Big Mountain Data susan@bigmountaindata.com

553-553-6095 @bigMdata

Scott Matthews, Partner, Tremendousness wscott@tremendous.com

314-651-5227 @tremendo_us

Tennessee County Uses GPS Technology, But Skepticism Surrounds Effectiveness

OM210_Final-2Law enforcement officials in Grundy County, Tennessee, are using GPS tracking technology to hold domestic violence offenders accountable and keep victims safe.

The sheriff’s department uses the tracking device for anyone arrested for domestic violence and released on bond, WRCB-TV.com reported. The offender wears an ankle bracelet, and the victim will carry a GPS key fob. The sheriff’s office sends an alert if the offender gets too close to the victim.

“We don’t want the victims to be scared anymore,” Sheriff Clint Shrum told WRCB-TV. “We want them to know we have something in place to help them be protected.”

The county started using the technology April 1, and is currently using about a dozen monitoring devices from Tennessee Recovery & Monitoring. The device costs $13 a day to operate — and the offender must pay the bill.

About 40 cases of domestic violence have been reported in Grundy County in the last six months. According to the Grundy County sheriff, the number of inmates in the jail is the lowest it’s been since last September.

Offenders typically wear the monitoring device 60 to 90 days, or until their next court appearance, the outlet reported.

Although domestic violence advocates support the practice, some jurisdictions are skeptical about the effectiveness of electronic monitoring. Orange County, Florida, for example, ended the practice after the 2012 killing of a witness by a man who was supposed to be under home confinement with an ankle monitor, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Mayor Teresa Jacobs this week told the paper, “No reinstatement of these programs is being considered at this time.”

Frederick Lauten, chief judge for Orange and Osceola counties, told the Sentinel, “electronic monitoring sounds good in theory, but working out the logistical issues is very challenging.” It might “provide a false sense of security to victims,” he said. “But there’s little you can do to stop a person bent on harming someone else.”

It’s unclear if electronic monitoring reduces recidivism rates or prevents offender from committing another crime. Marc Renzema, founder of the Journal of Offender Monitoring, said interest has dropped as agencies learned of the cost and labor the system requires. “In the early days, the technology was way oversold, and judges — and even in some of the cases corrections staff — thought it could do stuff that it couldn’t do, he told the Sentinel.