Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Around the Blogs, Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Yet one more case of an overzealous prosecutor, a very questionable case, the hanging of ridiculously disproportionate punishments over an innocent accused's head and getting a guilty plea to a lesser charge. Add in the lack of any proof of what was being charged and a victimized family now dealing with destruction of their historically reputable son's future. No, not talking the Duke lacrosse case here. The child porn hysteria (aka "moral panic") in AZ. Not sure if this upsets me more than the GA case of that poor kid in prison for ten years for consensual sex with another teen or not. I'm just getting tired of it. It's like the daycare center abuse cases of the 1980s. When are we going to grow up? When are we going to recognize witch hunts for what they are? Well, I guess I just answered that question, didn't I? At least getting Berman on the case may have more of a chance of getting someone with brains and morals to pay attention. . . . All that talk about how prisons are the salvation of small towns? Not so much. According to Real Cost of Prison, we've even figured out how to outsource that. Central America, the new San Quentin? Devil's Island? I really shouldn't be blogging right now. The mood is heading south. . . . Well, here's a little good news. The new CO blog, Think Outside the Cage, is up and running on all cylinders. Go check out the whole thing, but here are a couple of posts of particular interest to us. This one, an editorial from that commie hotbed Colorado Springs on the costs and dubious benefits of our "War on (Some) Drugs." Here's the clued-in conclusion: After four years of war in Iraq, the American people tell pollsters they’re tired of what they see as the same results for the billions we’ve spent, so the administration is reconsidering its tactics. After four decades of a failed drug war, isn’t it time to take a fresh look at what’s not working on that front? And then do this one, a very provocative idea and challenge (directive?) issued to the CO DOC by a state legislator. If we are willing to accept that treatment has a research-based impact on recidivism, that is, if we say that for every dollar invested, we would see X percentage decrease in recidivism, why not put it out like that? Link any new money to the decrease expected for that amount of money. It would certainly focus and give a goal, like JFK's "Man on the Moon by the End of the Decade." It would alert every soul engaged in the correctional process aware that they are being judged on how well they keep inmates from reoffending rather than the vague, "we're just doing our job" or "GOTCHA!" that gets played too often now. It will be very interesting to see what CO comes up with. I have to say, after watching the past governor there for a number of years, I had put the state on the "hopeless" pile. But the changes and ideas coming out of there now, not to mention my friend Kim English and her research crew there, actually make me think that CO is the state to watch for how to deal with our corrections sentencing Gordian Knots in every state. And, lucky us, we have a really good blog there now to keep us all up-to-date.