Friday, January 19, 2007
Around the Blogs, Friday, January 19, 2007
Real Cost of Prisons has a nice post up on the role of rural counties in contributing to the increase in female incarceration rates in OH. It's probably applicable in many if not most states. Rural areas have different impacts on prison populations (and death penalties) than suburban areas than urban areas, and we need to keep that in mind when we are making generalizations about sentencing policy. I found a distinct difference between the attitudes toward transparency and community input of one-county judges who had to deal with folks in the grocery store regularly and urban judges who loved the anonymity of their courtrooms. The multiple nightmares of most urban and increasingly suburban areas are less influential in the rural areas which often enforce community morals with a different approach. Nothing profound here, but a nice reminder. . . . Empirical Legal Studies resumes its deliberating on the needs of law schools in shaping curricula to include the clear imperative to improve the statistical and evaluation skills of their grads. Maybe the answer is to incorporate methodology into an overarching course on policy planning and analysis, maybe even a two-semester course or series of workshops, whatever, just make part of the law/criminal justice doctorate that we’ve discussed here before. It's good to see this need continue to be addressed by some serious minds. . . . Pamela Clifton at Think Outside the Cage notes an e-mail she received from a mother despondent that her son, making good rehab progress in his CO prison, is being removed from vo-tech training and moved to an OK private prison. I trust the mother isn't worried only because her son will be moved to my state (although with the weather we've been having lately, I can't say I can blame her). Pamela doesn't have any advice for the woman really but wants people to think about the wisdom of moving offenders away from family visits and winning efforts to start a new life. Did I say "wisdom"? . . . Finally, another good post at Prevention Works, this time on creative sentencing efforts as a means to offset excessive use of incarceration. The post affirms that sentencing is moving beyond the old comfortable boundaries and traditions as dissatisfaction grows. You see it in the interest in “shaming” decisions (therapeutic and non), in technocorrections—things that the policymakers and reformers haven’t been paying the needed attention to. One more time: We really need to focus on these things now before the horses have all left the barn. Guidelines or sentencing info systems may be irrelevant in a world in which companies have sold judges and DOCs on surveillance, drugs, and genetic reengineering. There are undeniable signs that that focus is happening, as Prevention Works has been excellently showing. We just need to start getting more formal stuff underway.