Monday, November 20, 2006

News of the Day 11-20-06

From the "Somehow You Just Knew" file, OH researchers in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence have published a study finding that "People who own vicious dogs such as pit bulls have significantly more criminal convictions--including crimes against children--than owners of licensed, gentler dogs such as beagles." I mean, listen--every owner of a high-risk dog had at least one run-in with the law. Talk about a risk indicator. Now how does the info get used? . . . Neurons out of sync? Well, could have been that joint you just toked. Scientists at Rutgers have found that the funny weed disrupts synchronized brain cell firing which in turns disrupts memory creation and storage, long- and short-term. ". . . there may be a threshold level of the drug that entirely prohibits learning, and that is something worth remembering very clearly." Nicely said. . . . Here and here you can find a story on how the shaming trend is moving forward while we abstractly debate whether it's a good thing or not. A new TN law requires first-time DUI offenders to do 24 hours in jail, then 24 hours on litter pickup while wearing a conspicuous orange vest that says "I am a drunk driver." Okay, again, it's not an incarceration diversion program if you incarcerate people. It's not a good idea if you waste resources implementing it, as law enforcement folks there are suggesting (5 guys to oversee the sparse workcrews??), or if people laugh it off, as the law guys are also saying. Advocates are opposing efforts to repeal it or let it sunset, saying there hasn't been time yet to evaluate its effectiveness. On the other hand, MADD in TN claims not to have been consulted and probably opposes it on the grounds that it may drive embarrassed offenders to drink. Somehow I just don't think this one got thought out very thoroughly. Imagine that, which is, of course, the best argument of the anti-shaming folks. (h/t Crim Law Blog.) . . . Not sure if this is really relevant to this blog, but somehow it just felt like it was. U of MN researchers have demonstrated that people exposed to the concept of money act more selfishly and less selflessly than those who haven't. Welcome to ideas about the implications. Will you send me some ideas if I offer you some cash? . . . Finally, a major problem for corrections departments that you may not have thought of. More aliens behind state bars (foreign nationals, not ALF), state tries to deport them, their home country won't take them. Then what? This one's probably not going away. (And just to get my mind off it, I'm getting out my DVD of the first year of "ALF.")

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