Friday, August 04, 2006

News of the Day 8-4-06

Following on the heels of our post on privatization efforts yesterday, has one of its own analyses of social services privatization efforts in two states--a problematic welfare project in TX and bidding problems in IN. As we noted in the earlier post, these reports do not prove the supremacy of public operations, but they do stand in opposition to all the undeserved hype privatization has gotten over the last couple of decades. Performance depends on people and practice, not the ideologies that drive a lot of the talk. A point made by one of the academic experts quoted in the article, coincidentally enough. . . . Somewhat relatedly, points to the perpetual problems that corrections policy has creating opportunities for offenders to gain skills to move to constructive lives A.P. (after prison). Printers in DE have protested training and contracts with Prison Industries there in their line of work, especially with schools, even though offender participants have a 50% lower recidivism rate than the general prison pop. Not to mention the crimes avoided. Public policy types have taught for years the problems with programs that provide broad benefits and narrow costs, but have never really described how to get around them. The scholar who does will earn front page of Corrections Today. . . . A notable appellate decision in MD where the state Court of Appeals threw out convictions of women imprisoned after their babies were born with cocaine in their systems. The MD legislature had specifically failed to include child endangerment of this type into part of drug possession penalties, but a prosecutor there became proactive on his own, despite fears that these actions would drive pregnant drug users away from care and treatment. The court not only castigated the prosecutor but pointed to the possibility of precedent-setting for any other behavior that could cause injury to a fetus during pregnancy, such as horseback riding. No kidding.

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