Wednesday, January 31, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Quick hits again today:
  • I had no idea the British approach to rape victims was still so far behind even what we do here, did you? Only 5% of reported rapes end in conviction? Jeez.
  • Here's the gov's message to the state legis in WI. Basically good man, basically good speech. But see if you can find any mention of the giant sword hanging over WI, its growing and about to explode corr sent crisis and the dollars that will be needed if things aren’t changed. Doyle can’t speak about it because he’s partly responsible for the crisis and for the sentencing commission there which was created to rein in some of the costs and prison populations but turned itself over to its retrograde judicial reps and failed the state. Yet without getting prison policy under control, virtually nothing he proposes here will be affordable. If WI wants to be a state that can accomplish these things, the first thing to do is to empower a real sentencing policy board with real authority, like what the Little Hoover Commission just proposed for CA. It’s sad to watch a state that I really enjoyed face such a downward spiral because certain judges there have too much sway over meaningful changes in sent policy.
  • Think Outside the Cage keeps up its good work covering the window opening for real corr sent reform and better public safety in CO with a link to this article. Good description of what happens to public safety and recidivism when corr programs cut to find more bedspace, straight from the DOC director: Zavaras said the rate of repeat offenders hit 50 percent after the state slashed $12 million in funding for mental health, education, drug and alcohol treatment, sex offender treatment and other programs after the economy went into recession in 2002.
  • AR (Arkansas, not Arizona) is having trouble hunting down parole violators, just the regular ones. And we want states to keep minute-to-minute track of sex offenders . . . .
  • ID, meanwhile, just wants to know how it's supposed to house all the convicted offenders it keeps bringing in.
  • Here's one for Doug Berman to consider. The NC Supreme Court is considering a case on restaurant liability in drunk driving. I understand the implementation problems, but this is just another example of our inconsistency and hypocrisy in dealing with "good" drugs and "bad" drugs. Dealers of "bad" ones end up in prison. Dealers of "good" ones will probably beat the rap in this case. Why we accept one and not the other (and I'm not saying drug dealers shouldn't be punished, just do the same to other sellers) is part of what future historians will be scratching their heads over.
  • Speaking of inconsistent and hypocritical, consider the implications of this research that indicates that smoking is the best way to get some drugs into the system.
  • Neuroethics & Law Blog alerts us to a coming Boston University School of Law & Medicine symposium on "Brain Imaging and the Law." It's really good to see the law schools grabbing hold of this issue. Now if they can just pull some corr sent folks in before the world gets too far ahead on this.
  • Finally, if you loved the Little Hoover Commission report on CA, you might be interested in the recent CA Legislative Analyst's Office report on the state's crim just system. I really appreciated its refusal to enter that swamp of estimating the intangible costs of crime and victimization, especially the famous "civil jury award" methodology that gives us numbers but shouldn't be used seriously (h/t Corrections Community).

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