Wednesday, January 24, 2007

News of the Day, Wednesday, January 24, 2007

In Britain, the Home Secretary and "law chiefs" have asked, very respectfully, I'm sure, the nation's judges and magistrates to use the nation's prisons for the dangerous and/or habitual (they call them "persistent") offenders, given the pressure on budgets and facilities. Of course, you have the usual "justice has no price (as long as I can get someone else to pay it)" guys, but imagine if you had the same dynamic on the federal level here, the Attorney General and national chiefs' organizations doing it. Might even make the news. . . . Speaking of our federal government, currently dithering and actually making things worse in many ways, several states are moving forward on trying to get public safety cost-effectively managed, maxing safety and bang for the buck. I know we usually talk about the encouraging (and frequently surprising) efforts of the CO's, CA's, TX's, et al., but here are some updates on what's happening in other states: AR (Arkansas, not Arizona), NV, and even UT. These articles are just promising, and even a little bittersweet, like this one on obstacles in DE, but at least some eyes are opening. . . . Surprise. You increase sanctions and monitoring on sex offenders, more cases go to trial, you need more money for their prosecution. No one saw this in advance? Oh, well, yeah, but they didn't fund it. Now we think they will? The DAs can just pick up the cost themselves? And what goes by the boards when they triage their budgets? And, as the article notes, if you have more cases and more prosecutors, think you might need more public defenders? And more funding? Just pity these poor public officials when the "reforms" don't produce anything close to what their promoters claim and, in fact, will more likely produce things we don't want. . . . Finally, here's a nice example of what states can do for crime victims, making employers provide time to attend court, one of the biggest problems victims face. Of course, we should just allow humanity's basic goodness to provide these benefits, opponents are basically arguing, and we're all for victims' rights, but goodness, this is going to cost money. Okay, whatever. Rhetoric v. reality. Once again, we see what drives most people's attitudes and actions in corrections sentencing, don't we?

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