Monday, April 16, 2007

Gifts from Friends

Got a couple of items from readers that we want to pass along. Teri Carns in AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) noted this story at Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy on GPS monitoring and its problems, especially the intensive costs of supervision and the tendency of policymakers to assign every offender du jour to the penalty. After reading it, Teri makes the very legitimate point that "perhaps I'm misunderstanding this because GPS is different from previous ankle bracelet technology. But this seems to be a pretty intensive program. Essentially, they have one full-time probation officer for five defendants. It may still be cheaper than incarceration, but might it not be more effective to have the one probation officer working closely with the defendants to get them jobs, housing, treatment, etc. -- someone paying intensive attention to the defendant on a daily basis?It would be interesting to compare the costs of GPS to the costs of therapeutic courts, which have more people involved, but generally don't have probation officer/defendant ratios even approaching the GPS model." Teri, Teri, Teri. You're talking sense again. What have I told you about that? . . . And another kind soul passes along word of SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) and its new searchable database on Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, "with up-to-date, reliable information on the scientific basis and practicality of interventions. To have an intervention listed in NREPP, intervention's developer submits required information about the intervention for expert review. Initially NREPP will offer information on 25 interventions that have been examined and rated by experts. With more than 200 additional interventions under review, NREPP is expected to add five to ten new interventions each month." To check it out, just go to Let us know what you think and we'll pass it along.

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