Tuesday, December 19, 2006

News and Blogs Together Today

I talk a lot about working in OK's first sentencing reform effort. Here's an update on its second one. What the story doesn't tell you is that the reason the legislation they're proposing won't be considered this year (because they missed the filing dates) is because they couldn't get enough members to the meetings to have a quorum for action. This isn't a knock on the commission or the dedicated staff that's trying hard. It's just an example of what I was talking about yesterday regarding what happens to some states that do do commissions but don't accomplish what was originally hoped. Something, as I noted, that I hope the CA folks pay a lot of attention to before pinning hopes on a similar venture. . . . Prevention Works does a nice take of its own on yesterday's report that violent crime is up again in the first half of 2006. The best part of Matthew Bowen's post is the set of links to prevention techniques. . . . The Journal of Consumer Research has a study talking about how ad campaigns using virtual reality may cause false memories that lead to disappointment with purchases that don't do what buyers thought they did. Not directly relevant to corrections sentencing, but it's not like we ever rely on people's memories for what we do here, is it? . . . Recently at that reentry training I went to, one of the presenters made the point that we really didn't want to incorporate the "self-esteem" movement into our reentry efforts since it might not be a great idea making a rapist feel really good about himself. Which reminded me of this terrific Scientific American article taking the whole "self-esteem" silliness apart as applied both to education and to social behavior. The payoff is poor socially, although we may feel a lot better about it. Which also reminds me of that great line in what I thought was a great movie, "Spanglish," where the mother tells the daughter, "You know, dear, sometimes your low self-esteem is just good common sense." Maybe that's where we should start with a lot of folks. . . . Finally, another link that may not seem immediately related to what we do, but hold on. Turns out that, despite mountains of studies and of documented research results, hospitals still can't divorce themselves from their old tried-and-true torture of interns, with demonstrated adverse results for patients. Folks, keep in mind that health care is THE AREA held up as "evidence-based practice" success, but it seems even there, the old traditions, SOPs, sunk costs, tunnel vision, and inability to shake off illusions they've lived with for years can dig in and endanger people. Keep that in mind as we try to bring evidence-based to an area with even more to overcome. Sometimes it takes lots of old guard funerals before anything based on reality can take hold. I just hope we have the time.

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