Friday, December 08, 2006

News of the Day 12-08-06

Here's a picture of this nation's corrections sentencing situation in microcosm, embodied at the moment by GA but applicable to most states, 7% over capacity and netting around 5000 new inmates a year in the prisons they have. Supplemental appropriation required to get through the year even though the state's prison system costs over $1 b. a year. (Anyone remember exactly where GA ranked in that story on the healthiest (and unhealthiest) states the other day?) What did I mean by "applicable to most states"? Well, here's the same story pretty much, only subbing OK for GA. Both came up today. What are the odds . . . ? At least both states are well known for the high salaries they pay their teachers. . . . Interesting story from BBC that I hadn't really thought about before. Turns out that the moolah there to be made illegally from the Internet is so lucrative that international organized crime is starting to seek out and entice hackers at young ages. Nice presentation of how the process works. Sounds like we're going to have to consider our hacking crimes' sentencing ranges in our guidelines at little bit harder. . . . Remember the story yesterday on NM's efforts to move back to a rehab perspective with juvy crime? Well, the Christian Science Monitor steps forward with a good overview of the trend nationally, focusing on Illinois and its efforts. They have a 50% recidivism rate there and figure just about anything else could do better. That's one of the things that amazes me when I think how prison policy is the only area where a 50% failure rate is considered successful. Amazes me at least until I remember that stopping recidivism isn't the real goal of most states and their prisons anyway. . . . This article will get you update on exactly how cocaine works in the brain and how it does its bad stuff. Not fun reading, but the fact that they're getting this precise can give us hope that they're close to knowing how to backward engineer and maybe counteract its addictive effects. . . . Finally, an article on how, in a survival of the fittest world, altruistic behavior may have evolved. Computer simulations based greatly on the "tit-for-tat"-type simulations pioneered a couple of decades ago by Robert Axelrod that showed the "evolution of cooperation." I'm planning a review of the revised version of Axelrod's book shortly, but for now let's just say that long-term, mutually beneficial interaction generally drives out unsocial behavior if the interactors enforce a protocol for meeting transgressions proportionately and surely. Sound like what criminal justice tries to do? Well, then, you're going to be on the edge of your seat until I get that post up, aren't you?

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