Thursday, January 04, 2007

News and Blogs Together

It was just a matter of time, two battling name laws, in this case Megan v. Jessica. As Sex Crimes Blog notes, Megan's Laws may forbid discrimination against registered sex offenders which, of course, is what Jessica's Laws love to do. Which will win? Since legislatures can easily remove the anti-discrimination clauses, I'm betting on Jessica. . . . When I talk about good prosecutors, the ones who haven't decided God doesn't need to worry about what's going on down here since they're covering for Him, this guy sounds like one I would point to. Note his strongly held position: "the attorney general's office would not just prosecute criminals but work with law enforcement authorities to prevent crime." Imagine. Getting out there and stopping the crimes and victimizations instead of waiting for the injuries and then rushing to the rescue. If his name weren't Biden, I wouldn't give him a year. . . . Doug Berman's not done with the inadequacies of the NJ Death Penalty report. What got me head-banging with him was his note that not once in the report did the authors tell readers that 10,000 murders have NOT been deterred in the state since the penalty was reinstituted. This report sounds like the result of what kills so much momentum toward wisdom in crim just policy. We insist that everyone with a dog in the hunt be at the table for these things, and many of those come to the proceedings not with a goal of objective determination but of screwing up the process for everyone if they can't get their way. So you get the pabulum and "split the differencing" that leave principled action impossible. We know what most of these people are already going to say and they will get that say when the policymakers start taking action. They do NOT need to be on the committees and commissions that produce the reports and the recommendations. Those should be done by the people who actually can be, you know, objective and not see careers, roles in life, and ideologies threatened by realistic decisions. We've seen what happens to space shuttles that fail to live by this, but it applies to corrections sentencing bodies as well. . . . More from the realm of MRIs and what they're telling us about how people actually think and what those thoughts can make us do. The study dealt with seeing what lights up when we consider buying something and when we finally make the decision. Turns out different areas spiz up when we are going to decide yes and when no. Again, not corrections sentencing directly, but shows how we will be able to map inclinations and isn't that a little related? . . . Relatedly, here's an excellent post at Prevention Works on brain development of teens and the different ways they light up compared to the law's famous "reasonable person." The post is a very nice elaboration of the world we're getting into and the potential for good and harm in corrections sentencing. To sell the point, Debra Eisenman alerts us to this: "the British government is already contemplating a law that would allow the imprisonment of people who have mental disorders that could make them likely to commit a crime (never mind that they have yet to commit one)." Not your grandfather's "Minority Report" anymore, is it?

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