Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quick Hits

Some odds and ends on this Election Day. Blackprof reminds us of Robert Sampson's research on the impact of immigrants on crime. While he'll go down in academic history for his pioneering work with John Laub on life-course criminology, which should be a basis for any empirically-based policy, he also found that new immigrants actually reduce crime in the areas in which they settle, not increase it. Imagine, "common sense" about crime is exactly the opposite of reality. Who'da thunk??? . . . Real Cost of Prisons has a couple of pieces up on private prisons in CO and the mess the state is in. Hadn't mentioned CO and its quest to outdo CA in a while, so I appreciate the chance. . . . A Swedish study in the Archives of General Psychiatry indicates that steriod use doesn't apparently make users more likely to commit violent crimes, but is associated with crimes like weapons possession and fraud. Steroids make people do those things or just get used by people inclined to do them? And the steroid use seemed associated with other drug use. Still, since we imprison folks for ingesting drugs that make them abuse pizza on the grounds that they are associated with other crimes and future drugs, shouldn't we be locking up steroid guys? Including NFL and MLB ones? Track stars? Huh? Huh? . . . Finally, Adam Kolber at Prawfsblawg directs us to a CA company that is touting its use of MRIs as lie detectors, rather, directs attorneys to their services. What have we been saying around here? Here's his money quote: "Most neuroscientists will tell you that the technology is not up to snuff to apply in the trenches, so to speak, and many are skeptical that it ever will be. Nevertheless, the technology already raises important legal and ethical issues because it will not be long before a court will have to decide the admissability of such neuroimaging evidence when, say, a criminal defendant claims that it proves he has no recollections of a crime scene." Wise man. Say it loud, say it proud--"TECHNOCORRECTIONS!!!"

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