Monday, February 19, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Monday, February 19, 2007

Pam Clifton over at Think Outside the Cage caught a good op-ed on how higher ed in CO is getting hammered because of the bite of their exponential prison growth in the state. Tuition is the tax increase that dare not be called such, the easiest way to pay for prisons without raising taxes, the politicians' dream. Of course, it's eating seed corn, but we're good at that, practically every state. . . . Is NY going to try another sentencing commission? It tried years ago, dumped on guidelines, but the gov there is proposing a couple of new commissions and one sounds suspiciously sentencing-like. And Vera is already right there, won't even have to travel very far. (h/t Real Cost of Prisons). . . . An MIT symposium on "truth detection" is warning us off the hype and dreams of using MRIs for lie detection and spotting future criminals and terrorists. Good review of the arguments against. But were any policymakers in the audience? Did they pay attention? . . . And a Carnegie Mellon study may finally be getting at why people do addictive drugs despite all our experience, knowledge, and warnings. The study confirmed that "people experiment with drugs that they know are addictive in part because they can't appreciate the intensity of drug cravings, and thus underestimate the likelihood that they will become addicted. Because they can't imagine what it would be like to experience a craving, people also discount the possibility that they will do terrible things in order to satisfy that craving, such as commit crimes or abandon their children." Their findings showed that not only offer insights into why people use drugs they know could be addictive, but could also help explain why it is so difficult for addicts to quit, according to Bickel. "Individuals who are in treatment may think that they will be OK out of treatment. However, if they underestimate the power of drugs, they may be surprised that they relapse," Bickel said. "Similarly, adolescents may think that they can try drugs without ill consequence. But they may underestimate how powerful a drug is and therefore expose themselves to the drug." To prevent recovering addicts from relapsing, they must be taught to anticipate, recognize and cope with situations in which they will be tempted to use drugs, Loewenstein said. "People generally decide to go on a diet right after eating a satisfying meal; to start saving right after splurging; and to quit drugs, such as cigarettes, right after smoking one. But all of these plans tend to be unrealistic because they are made when people aren't in a craving state and, as our results show, can't predict what it will be like once they start craving again." . . . Finally, if you get a chance, swing by Grits for Breakfast's place and wish him well. He and his gall bladder are apparently parting. You know how sad that can be and how much encouragement would be appreciated.

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