Senior writer @ibtimes focusing on prisons and tech, sometimes both. E-mail me at PGP and PO Box on request.

Baltimore Is Hosting America's Largest Police Expo This Week And Military-Style Tanks And Grenade Launchers Are On Display — BALTIMORE, Md. -- If you've ever wondered where police get their military-style tanks or grenade launchers -- or even those fancy new hi-tech body cameras -- there's a good chance your local sheriff was pitched by a company here at the annual National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) conference, the country's largest trade show for cops, which kicked off Sunday evening in Baltimore, Maryland.

This New Tech Is Making Prison Inmates Flush Their Smuggled Cell Phones Down Toilets — They come in through the mail, tucked in babies' diapers on family visits, and snuck in by prison guards. Cops say that inmates use cell phones to plan gang attacks or coordinate hits on the outside, and prison officials are desperate to keep them out.

Ross Ulbricht Appeal Coming This Week; Defense Will Blast Judge For 'Unreasonable' Life Sentence — A New York judge sentenced Ross Ulbricht to life in prison last Friday for his role in creating Silk Road, but the 31-year-old Texas native won't be going down without a fight. Ulbricht's defense attorneys are mounting an aggressive appeal, and say they are likely to file official paperwork in the federal district court by the end of this week.

Why Two of America’s Biggest Prison Tech Companies Are Battling Over Patents — For most Americans, paying a monthly phone bill is a nuisance, but not necessarily prohibitively expensive. In prison, things are different. The phones, which are run by private companies, charge notoriously high rates. So high, in fact, that the Federal Communications Commission began regulating the industry in 2013, setting "rate caps" on interstate calls.

Prison-Tech Giant Securus Will No Longer Require Jails To Remove In-Person Visits — Securus, a billion-dollar tech company that works with hundreds of jails and prisons around the United States, will no longer require the prisons it works with to eliminate in-person visitations for inmates and their families. The decision comes one month after an International Business Times investigation, "Video Chats Are Replacing In-Person Jail Visits, While One Tech Company Profits."

Why American Jails May Drastically Curtail Inmate Phone Calls — For decades, every time an inmate picked up a phone to dial a friend or family member, that correctional facility received a percentage of the cost of the call, typically around 50 percent. With millions of people locked up nationwide, the prison phone industry has flourished, growing to a $1.2 billion year business.

Amid Baltimore Protests, A Vermont Prison Placed On Lockdown — Officials in Vermont placed the state's largest prison on "modified" lockdown Wednesday after threats of violence -- and potentially a riot -- in the wake of ongoing demonstrations in Baltimore prompted by the death of Freddie Gray.

Why American Prisons Are Pushing E-Cigarettes On Inmates — Teens aren't the only ones obsessed with vaping, it seems. Inmates are doing it, too. Seven states now permit the sale of e-cigarettes in jails, and, as one recent report noted, e-cigs "have quickly become one of the most sought-after items in jail commissaries."

United Airlines Kicks Computer Expert Off Flight For Tweets — Chris Roberts, a prominent computer security expert, was aboard a United Airlines flight last week when he tweeted about a potential security flaw he found on the plane's on-board Wi-Fi. Big mistake. Airline personnel saw the tweet and alerted authorities at Syracuse Hancock International Airport where the flight was scheduled to land.

Baltimore Man Dies One Week After Arrest — Baltimore police have opened a criminal investigation into the death of a man who died Sunday, apparently as a result of injuries sustained in police custody, the Associated Press reported. Freddie Gray, 25, of Baltimore was arrested last week by Baltimore police. Police said uniformed bicycle officers attempted to stop Gray, but he fled on foot.
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Jun 29, 2015

Irony? Baltimore is hosting a giant police convention--I'm covering it for @IBTimes. My first impressions:…

Jun 29, 2015

"It's never been more dangerous to be a cop...fundamental problem is we have too many criminals" - Mike Huckabee @ sheriff conference

Jun 29, 2015

Standing ovation for Baltimore PD at the National Sheriffs' Association conference.

Jun 26, 2015

I wrote about the technology that keeps cell phones out of the hands of inmates… cc @jeffstone500

Jun 22, 2015

RT @MarketplaceTech: Today: @gdouban on US Visa glitch, @EricMarkowitz kicks off new series "Jailbreak" & @WillOremus on Project Lightning …

Jun 19, 2015

Here is a video of an illegal steroid lab in Canada. Vendor says he's made $2 mil, half in Bitcoin, on dark net

Jun 17, 2015

RT @kifleswing: Love that Uber's policy of discouraging tipping is cited as one reason why drivers are employees

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