Monday, November 20, 2006

Around the Blogs 11-20-06

Good finds from several blogs today. Of course, Doug Berman leads the way with a couple of catches. This one finds a NY Times story that discusses the creative ways states are coming up with to stop drunk driving, including new generations of ignition interlocks and technologies to prevent vehicle use at all like perspiration readings through the steering wheel or readings of lights shined off the skin. TECHNOCORRECTIONS at its best, and a good model for how other innovations will likely occur. And this one highlights a VA story on the efforts to crack down on sex offenders and the doubts that opponents are raising about the crackdown's effectiveness. The story features yet another guy collecting child porn with no other record or indication of any illegal behavior. In fact, he was harassed by FBI sting guys on the Internet until he gave in. The story covers the issues well, but I need to emphasize one point. The story is also a case study on how to screw up the reporting that citizens need to make intelligent judgments about criminal justice policy. How? First, nowhere in the article is there any reference to the consistent research on the absence of a link between possession of child porn and later sexual offending, as we've mentioned here, nor to the researchers who might be able to bring some light to the subject. Then, on the other side, the article does refer to the widely reported research that sex offenders have low recidivism rates compared to other offenders, research that people who work closely with sex offenders have serious problems with, people who again are never quoted as an alternative in the article. The story wasn't biased. It messed up the evidence for both the lenient and hardline folks. It was just someone not knowing what he was talking about writing about something that deserved better treatment. IOW, the SOSO (same old, same old). . . . Grits for Breakfast lets us know about a hard-line TX judge (former prosecutor) who has come out against the hardline treatment of drug offenders in the state. Grits also can give you a good overview of crim just legislation currently proposed in TX, good and amazing (not in a good way). There are dozens of excellent state policy blog sites that can keep you up-to-date on general or specific policy topics. Grits really does a nice job modeling what's possible, and this post is just an example. . . . At Prevention Works, a rundown on the latest in mandatory drug testing in schools. Want to guess if there's a difference in drug use between students at schools with the testing and those at schools without??? Aw, this is just getting too easy, isn't it?

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