Monday, March 12, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Monday, March 12, 2007

  • I missed this story last week, the one on the violent crime upsurge in US cities over the last couple of years. Not that new stuff, really. We've been talking for several months now about how prior reports seem to put the lie to the "massive incarceration stops crime well" motif. But I liked this quote from Rochester's mayor, who seems to get it: "In Rochester, Mr. Duffy said his city had the state’s highest dropout rate — half of all students drop out— and the highest child poverty rate, with 40 percent of children under 18 living below poverty level. 'There’s a direct correlation between the kids who drop out of our high schools who get involved in selling drugs and who end up in homicides,' Mr. Duffy said."
  • Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism has a couple of nice posts up, one on the history of the "lie detector" and those "obsessed" with it and its flaws and one on the shared philosophy of Blaise Pascal and FBI Director Robert Mueller. The latter essentially tells us that our leaders know power can be abused, but they aren't going to do it so don't worry. Which is the reason why technocorrections, despite any reassurances we get from its sellers and buyers, will inevitably be abused in foreseeable and unforeseeable ways. A nice warning.
  • Speaking of technocorrections, here's a study linking genetically produced serotonin, genetically produced brain cell receptors, and the degree of anger and aggression in females. Possible outcomes? "What about a genetic treatment -- maybe even a pill -- that would make women (and men) less angry and hostile?" Techno in a nut shell.
  • Much more funding needed for prosecutors, defenders, and judges needed in DE. Odd that they didn't mention how corrections is doing there budget-wise.
  • Controversy about reentry, parole, and the DOC's role in supervising released inmates in KS. Nothing unusual here but it's a nice example of the split between those who believe parole is to help reintegration and those who see it as a chance to play cop. And a nice example of the typical anonymous correspondence of the cop types to generate criticism of more proactive integration policies. You know where the knowledge-challenged Wichita paper is coming from when its headline is "Parole Policies v. Public Safety."
  • We've been following the debate over building a new prison v. just adding on in ND. Looks like neither will happen right now.
  • Tanning can be physically addictive, with happy neurochemicals semi-druggy? People die and are otherwise harmed from that addiction? Well, then, it's time for the War on Tanning.
  • Finally, Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy was wondering what my technocorrections reaction might be to the guy who cut off his correctional ankle bracelet to attend the Jerry Springer Show. Well, the dispensing of the jewelry is a semi-constant problem that will likely eventually lead to embedding of chips and such, but my real interest is in the possible use of Springer as an absconding rate reduction technique. Free tickets!! Take a swing at Jerry!!! I'm seeing one of those state innovative program awards just waiting for me once I can get in to see the OK DOC director.

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