Wednesday, January 10, 2007

News and Blogs Together!!

In their heart of hearts I believe that practitioners who insist that we can just keep funding and funding and funding the current system of prison emphasis in corrections sentencing really don't believe that the money could actually run out, that fundamental services and processes can't really go broke. Here's a good example, a New Orleans judge who jailed a public defender because a public defender hadn't been available in cash-starved NO where and when the judge wanted him. Get used to it. When it's somebody else's money, there has to be more to spend whenever you want. There just has to be. Like when you were two. / / / / A couple of stories from my home state, OK. The population problems there aren't just with the prisons. OK County is trying one more time to come up with the $109 m. needed to get its jail up to snuff. Voters turned it down 3 years ago. Just lock them up, don't pay for them. And the state is addressing a problem that will likely be on everyone's radar a few years from now--the spiraling upward of auto accidents and cell phones (DWUCP? Driving while using cell phone?). In MD a few years back, a high profile vehicular manslaughter case got a lot of attention, but I haven't heard much on it lately. Hard to believe that it won't become the crime du jour at some point again. As I've said before, I have a hard time with drunk drivers, especially those injuring people. The same feelings and desires for punishment apply to cell phone folks (maybe worse), and I doubt that I'm alone on this. / / / / Interesting post at Prevention Works on gangs and their prevention, focusing on LA but applicable to a lot of places. / / / / At Science Daily we hear of process query systems. Huhhh?? It's work of Dartmouth researchers, "an evolving algorithmic and software framework" that can apparently pull large masses of uncoordinated data into more useable formats. Anyone who's worked with DOC and/or court data, linking them to sentencing stats, can tell you that, even if they don't understand it, this will be good if it works. We'll keep an eye out for more info. / / / / MT is taking up the child sex offender restrictions that other states have rushed into. The state seems at least to be going into it with its eyes open, unlike most of the early states. The thing that bothers me here is that Jessica Lunsford's dad is showing up in partnership with the state Repubs to push the state to pass a law that demonstrably puts more children at risk. I've seen this is several states, parents pushed by demagogues or just by their own need for vengeance to promote policies that are counterproductive to what it is they say they want, that suck dollars out of demonstrably effective crim just efforts and into prisons which, needless to say, have a less than sterling record of success compared to other options. I understand their motivation. But they are not authorities, experts, or even knowledgeable. They hurt, but that hurt is more likely to cause more, not less, for others. Such a sad legacy for their children. / / / / Finally, Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy is not letting the injustice of the case of Genarlow Wilson in GA die. When the history of this period and its irrationalities, costly indulgences, and misguided policymaking is written, this case will almost undoubtedly be the intro to the book. Let's hope somebody in that condemned state wakes up soon.

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