Thursday, January 18, 2007

Around the Blogs, Thursday, January 18, 2007

Doug Berman tips us off to the newest way to cripple our effectiveness against sex offenders, once again from IA where a town there not only wants to restrict areas where people can live but also where they work. Not perhaps reasonable areas but whole towns. That's sure to keep these folks out of our kids' business, out of money, nowhere to live, looking for something to do. . . hmm. Why not just have a lottery for the kids who will be victimized by the offenders whom we are depriving any kind of or chance at staying straight? When did we decide that making life as hard as possible on offenders AFTER imprisonment would be a way to keep our communities safe? Where are the studies that back up this wisdom? This is just continued vengeance and our kids will pay more of a price for it. It may be time to rethink our prohibitions on demonstrating intelligence before you can vote or run for office. . . . Real Cost of Prisons has this note on how Gov. Doyle in WI has decided the state needs to look into the disparities of minorities in state prisons by creating a special panel. Wouldn't it be great if WI had a sentencing commission that could look into this, one that's already doing a mandated analysis on the impact of race on sentencing? . . . oh, wait. It does. . . . (Is it just me or has "disparity" pretty much fallen off the sentencing reform radar? It was THE issue that got guidelines started, and now we get the cost argument, and the problems of admin, but what about disparity? Or is it just me? Again?) . . . Think Outside the Cage keeps up its good work on the chances for impressive turnaround and change in CO corr sent. The new governor there recognizes that a state budget is fundamentally a "moral document" and that what you spend in one area cuts what you can spend in another. He draws the clear connection between prison spending and everything else a society might deem important and lends his support to reducing corrections spending to free funds for those oft-forgotten little things like education, health, and econ development. Not there yet, but the state, if successful in turning its situation, could provide a model for everyone else. Again, we're lucky to have a good blog on it full-time. . . . Finally, Matthew Bowen nails another post at Prevention Works, noting that the recent concern about violent crime has generated several ideas for combating rising crime but "the best investment is crime prevention, which is largely free." That means more cops and more direct action by communities to do the things we know will keep crimes from happening to begin with. That locked car door may free an officer up to do other things to stop other crimes, for example. Matthew also kindly links us to resources that can further the cause collectively and individually. It's a great site and resource. And it's nice that he's right, too.

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