Monday, December 11, 2006
News of the Day 12-11-06
The NY Times went nuts over the weekend, a couple of very good and thorough stories on corrections sentencing policy, one dealing with CA's interest in corrections sentencing reform and the other looking at the greater use of faith-based prisons and the accompanying legal and admin problems. Regarding the latter, the evidence just isn't there from independent sources that the faith-based folks do better at public safety or recidivism measures, but, given the support from conservative legislators, it's a good way to get funding to prison programs that normally they wouldn't receive. And, since programs have been cut back so much in the "bullets and beans" funding of prisons over the last decade, anything that lets the inmates do different things will have a useful effect on misconducts and general prison governance. So, the positive aspects can be nice even if the constitutionality is still up for grabs. As for CA, that article emphasizes once again the renewed interest there in creating a sentencing commission. And I will emphasize again, to anyone who listens to desperate wails, that a traditional commission with traditional functions doing traditional things will be worse than doing nothing since it will simply delay effective action that much longer. . . . Of course, this column by a noted crim just policy journalist lays the problem out and tells where the chuckholes are in CA much better than I can (h/t Real Cost of Prisons). . . . While you're hunting wild game this year, watch out for those isolated meth houses, cabins, and dumping grounds. . . . I think I may have already posted on this a while back, but I don't feel like crawling through the archives. A painkiller called dihydrocodeine is proving a lower cost, safer, less toxic alternative to methadone for treating heroin addiction. . . . The new governor in FL has said he'll make restoring prisoners' civil rights after release one of his issues when he takes office. So many of them get rejected for any job requiring licenses, nailing them one more time even if they try good faith attempts to go straight. Who knows if he'll follow through, but it's nice to see someone, especially a Republican, at least raise the topic, small steps and all that. We'll keep an eye on it. . . . MN's taking advantage of its current slowdown in prison increases to divert some resources to reentry to see if they can keep the slowing down. . . . So is NM, actually bringing in MO folks to talk about juvenile rehab v. incarceration. . . . But don't get your hopes up that rationally is going to start ruling. Although the headline of this Cincinnati article is "Limits on Offenders Questioned" and points are made about the countereffective consequences of current child sex legislation, you have a councilman determinedly ignoring all of it to promise more counterproducts, not only pushing the residency restrictions we've talked about here but also promising to lobby the state to stop shipping offenders to the city for treatment. Guess they can get treatment to reduce recidivism out in the boondocks. Don't let evidence, experience, and reality get in the way. Good luck, OH. Your kids are truly going to need it.