Thursday, November 16, 2006

Around the Blogs 11-16-06

Corrections Community, the NIC blog, has some good posts linking readers to some good reports and articles. Here, they get you the link to the recent NIDA report on principles for drug abuse treatment, in case you don't want to use the links here. And better, they give you 7 more links to related reports. Here, they provide the latest effort of NY's Independent Committee on Reentry and Employment. This includes the report's 7 key rec's, including creation of a Commissioner of Reentry, reporting directly to the Governor. All are thought-provoking. And here they link to some very good articles, especially this one on the future of US criminal justice in 2040 according to 3 leading academics. Only a little on "technocorrections," but David Weisburd does a nice critique of the current "evidence-based" trend in our work, including pointing out that "evidence-based" takes money and time that policy-makers are not renowned for providing to analysts. Let's all get together in 2040 and seeing how much of this played out. (I may not be there. Took one of those "life clock" test things that says I'm due to clock out in 2031. But carry on without me.) . . . At the National Center for State Courts (not really a blog, so we hope they're not insulted), they have a report up--“What’s Happening with DUI Courts? You'll find a good, concise summary of major research and practice on these offshoots of drug courts and a very nice bibliography. Since this is an obvious area for future technocorrections in the future (despite the "2040" article), these will be the folks who flip the switches on how extensively we adopt the new technologies. Better get familiar with them now. . . . Finally, Prevention Works, the blog of the National Crime Prevention Council, kindly links to our recent book review essay on biology, psychology, and the genetic part of technocorrections and brings in work the Marginal Revolution blog as well. Their point is to focus on the mental mechanisms that structure human desire to seek justice or at least seem to. Turns out we're good at rationalizing how our "justice" is good for everyone else, who conveniently get to pay for it. Add that to my point about the "justice premium" we're frequently willing to pay, what we pay for punishment well beyond the actual cost of the crime we're punishing, and you get a pretty good answer to the questions of all those frustrated cost-benefiters who just can't understand why we can't see why prisons make no sense for most crimes. Here's another related point, from this story today. Researchers have found that, using magnetic pulses to different sides of the brain during a game that can feature cooperation or dumping on your partner, they can influence whether people will cheat more than normal or accept being dumped on more than normal. There's no "brainwashing" here. The participants still reason well. They just end up acting in different ways in response to the knowledge, depending on which side of the brain the magnetic pulses are used on. IOW, certain areas of the brain play roles in each instance. Biology and morals anyone? And if they can affect behavior of game players with these magnetic pulses, maybe we could stick a helmet on offenders and . . . "technocorrections"!! Actually, that might be kinda embarrassing for them. . . uh-oh. Back to the shaming discussion. Let's save that for another day.

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