Friday, February 09, 2007

For Your Weekend Fun

  • Think your mind can't be read? Give it up. The power and use of MRIs to plot out what's happening in our heads march on. Computers being able to figure out what people are planning before they do it. Great applications possible, especially for paraplegics, but, well, "Professor Colin Blakemore, director of the Medical Research Council, said: "We shouldn't go overboard about the power of these technologies at the moment. 'But what you can be absolutely sure of is that these will continue to roll out and we will have more and more ability to probe people's intentions, minds, background thoughts, hopes and emotions.' He added: 'Some of that is extremely desirable, because it will help with diagnosis, education and so on, but we need to be thinking the ethical issues through.'" LOL with that. Let's keep this secret from humans, okay? You know how they always screw things up. . . .
  • Not really corrections sentencing but, as someone who taught law enforcement in a crim just program long long ago, this is something that I’ve been concerned about and tried to get across to folks for a long time. These guys put themselves out there for us and get to see too many of us too much of the time in our worst possible states. We need to insist that more be done to break down the macho culture that blocks these guys getting help and to recognize the stresses and pressures that they face.
  • Think Outside the Cage runs some good stuff by us, including this post on issuing of state report cards on reentry, which gave CO the lowest grade of all the states. I really like the state report card idea, which has been used effectively in other policy areas. It needs to be done more broadly on wide range of issues in corr sent as well as overall report cards for the states. And here, more proof that reducing prison populations isn’t just for left-wing breakfasts anymore: "On this we agree with the left."--Caldara president of the conservative Independence Institute, on the need for sentencing reform and reducing prison populations.
  • Yesterday we noted the complexity of matching legit needs of employers with crim just efforts such as medical marijuana use when it could affect critical job performance. Well, here we get another conflict--that of landlords with legal leases and abused women who have to leave where they've been living. Good analysis, tough problem.
  • Ben's already highlighted the discussion going on in VT about the state's prison overcrowding problem. I'd like to throw in a few of the quotes that could clearly apply in virtually every state: "The big problem they're facing is that the overcrowding is moving ahead more rapidly than their ability to respond at this point," Hogan said of the Corrections Department. "They need to think beyond incremental solutions if they're ever going to get a handle on this." And this: "We had our heads so deeply into the day-to-day crises in corrections," Lippert said. "Someone needs to think more broadly and strategically about how to address this issue, where it (the number of inmates) just grows and grows." And the finale: If you're someone who doesn't want to see taxes increased, you are interested in this. If you're someone who cares about safety in the community, you want this to succeed. If you care about the humanity of the families of the victims or the perpetrators, you're interested in this. People are yearning for a solution."--Corrections Commissioner Robert Hoffmann
  • Of course, there's always that prison outsourcing to Mexico that TX is considering. In case you missed the earlier coverage we did here. Didn't know that AZ had already beaten TX to consideration. But just because AZ turned it down, never underestimate TX.
  • Finally, in case you think we're pro-drug here, let's leave you with a couple of very interesting articles on the dangers of substance abuse. Here, we hear of the long-term generational effect of drug use, and here we find that unintentional fatal drug overdoses doubled from 1999 to 2004, with things like Oxycontin and Vicotin, heroin and cocaine knocking folks off and more in rural areas than previous studies found. (Can't help it. . . did you notice what drug didn't make the list? And where the heck is alcohol?)

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