Monday, February 12, 2007

News of the Day, Monday, February 12, 2007

  • CA is proposing a major shift in its prisoning--away from their megacomplexes to smaller, reentry facilities as they realize that planet-like edifices make it even that much harder to handle and treat offenders. Better late than never, but let's see what happens first, especially once NIMBY kicks in.
  • I can believe that, as some states get really tight with sex offender residency restrictions, other states would become more attractive places to lite for offenders. Didn't really think that WY would be one of the attractive states. Don't despair. There's legislation in the works.
  • In the meantime, WY could take a page from a neighbor and just stick those newcomers into a tent prison. Of course, ID wants tents only for old and/or sick guys who can't poke holes or run fast. I forget. Does it get cold in ID? (Was it just me or did the article basically say that, since ID can only send good risks to out-of-state prisons, leaving the old, sick guys with the hard cases who get left is endangering the weaker species?)
  • No tents for sex offenders in IN. They're going GPS. And fortunately there's an entrepreneurial CO company right there with equipment.
  • Maybe IN is looking at KY, where the funding of local jails may be a major issue in the coming gubernatorial campaign. Some really scary stats on differences by county on costs per inmate, length of stay before sentencing, and such.
  • Here's one of those articles that clearly states the complete misunderstanding of the people we put into prison while making clear that the purpose of prisons is to express communal outrage and perceptions of justice. Yes, indeed, OK, like other states, doesn't house all its convicted murderers in max security. Why, you mean they let those growling, frothing demons in less secure settings??? Those guys who actually very frequently turn out to cause less trouble than rowdy thugs yet to perform (or get caught at) their first homicide? Who have an interest in keeping the place they're living the rest of their lives as stable and predictable as possible? What on earth can those DOC types be thinking? Good thing we've got enterprising reporters on the scene to alert ignorant neighbors to the prisons and call BS on this nonsense.
  • We've mentioned here occasionally the unusual system of judicial selection they have in VA where the majority party in the legislature basically controls who gets picked and re-picked. This article, though, gives you a very good overview of that system, its problems and critics. The important point for this blog, though, is that VA is frequently held up as a model for sentencing guideline effectiveness, "voluntary" ones at that. Well, if your state wants the same fear, I mean, incentives for judicial compliance, just change your selection process to the same thing. See that happening any time soon?
  • Finally, surprise. NH is waking up the post-hasty world of sex offender legislation where even the authors of its Sexual Predators Act admit that their work needs a little "tweaking." If your state hasn't leaped before it looked yet, this is a great piece on how not to do it. Here's the money quote (that probably could have been taken from a couple dozen states by now): "I've never seen a law work that was put through so fast," said Rep. Laura Pantelakos, a Democrat who serves as vice chairwoman of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which reviewed the bill last year. "I don't feel it can be said that we did it right." That's the money quote, but here's the one I really loved: The state should not have looked far south for sex-offender legislation, Pantelakos said. "We should never follow a Florida law," she said. "Sometimes I think their brains are burnt out down there." If you've ever read a Carl Hiaasen novel, you really can't disagree, can you?

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