Thursday, December 28, 2006

News of the Day, Thursday, December 28, 2006

While murders are down in some key cities (DC, LA), others are up or fluctuating. NYC's is up after a low year last year, and they're attributing some of the increase to people wounded last year but dying this year. I've been around data a while but hadn't really thought about that contingency. What's interesting especially about NYC's increase is that the state is always held up as an example (including by me) of how crime rates can be brought down by other, less victim-dependent policies such as those pursued by NYC. But this at least points again to the possibility that no policy is that effective and that the bulk of the rises and falls occur because of cultural and community trends that prison, police, or rain dances don't reach. . . . Inmate suicides are up in CA and TX, and some folks see a relationship between that and the states' prominence among our incarcerators. On the other hand, it looks like there are some incarceration programs that effectively keep suicides down. . . . Add CT to the states admitting that its prison population needs to be addressed more effectively. Same problems, same litany, probably same "solutions." (h/t Real Cost of Prisons) . . . And CA's incarceration problems get a couple of reviews today, this time jails. Check this story out for a detailed description, including a really nice breakdown of some stats taking arrests through convictions through prison (h/t Real Cost of Prisons). And this one has some good quotes, including this one from LAPD Chief Bratton: "We didn't cure malaria until we started draining the swamps instead of just swatting at the mosquitoes. The resources have just not been committed to draining the swamps." . . . Finally, filed in the "don't the prosecutors and cops really have a lot more important things to do" file (or was it the "have we really gone this crazy?" file?), this was found at Governing:

“The only thing that comes close to this is dueling.”
Utah Associate Chief Justice Michael Wilkins, on a peculiar case before the court in which a 13-year-old girl is charged as both a sex offender and a victim for having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend

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