Thursday, October 26, 2006

Around the Blogs 10-26-06

Blackprof continues its good work on reentry issues with an excellent post on the uses and abuses of offense expungement. . . . Which segues nicely to Real Cost of Prisons and its Neal Peirce column on reentry and the payoffs of stopping recidivism. . . . Grits for Breakfast continues its recent posts on those offenders who prefer incarceration to other sanctions, including an interesting example from Germany. It also posts on the problems associated with driver's license revocations. When I was with the WI Sentencing Commission, we did a set of focus groups with judges on how substance abusers should be handled. (Report here; also in hard copy at Offenders Programs Report, May/June 2006, pp. 3-4, 11-13.) One of their biggest gripes was how DWI offenders were supposed to get by, if not incarcerated, without being able to drive, and it clearly affected the sentences many of them were willing to give. I'm very unsympathetic to drunk drivers, but, as Grits makes clear, the cost-benefit on what we're doing hasn't been adequately calculated. . . . And from Crime and Consequences we hear of an Australian study that shows negligible impact of gun buy-backs on homicide rates. The story does a good job of explaining why. The legit research I've seen on most gun policy efforts tends to this marginal effectiveness (at best). There may be other reasons to do them, but both sides in gun debates need more reality and less cherry-picking (and that goes for John Lott-types as well as gun policy advocates). Neither side has proven its case.

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