Monday, April 02, 2007

News of the Day, Monday, April 2, 2007

  • Research out of Harvard warns that testing teens and young adults for illegal drugs has so many false positives and negatives that those who get away with it and those who get accused wrongly will taint any efforts and mean the money is ultimately wasted. Better to put it into more effective efforts . . . but where have we heard that before?
  • Speaking of failed drug programs, turns out that a lot of CA's drug offenders really aren't interested in the treatment being offered after the state's famous initiative, bringing the entire effort into question. We have this problem a lot in corrections, assuming that offenders will see the value of our reentry, treatment, supervision efforts and then finding out . . . well, not so much. Especially when backup for bedspace is so long that you lose any momentum with them, as appears to be happening in CA. Obviously something to watch closely since it will affect all of us eventually.
  • Good news. Meth use is slackening apparently, following the path of crack, complete with rising meth prices and lowered quality. And, surprise, some authorities think the effort put into prevention may have been just as effective as the enforcement part.
  • Here's the proof we’re not serious about stopping crime and victimization or saving taxpayer dollars to put back into other areas of criminal justice. We're still screwing around with good early childhood learning despite "a long-term study of the effects of high-quality early care on low-income 3- and 4-year-olds found those who attended preschool -- interviewed at age 40 -- had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes and were more likely to have graduated from high school. The 2005 High/Scope Perry Preschool study found a return to society of more than $17 for every tax dollar invested in early education." Do we seriously need all the studies showing the lower return from what we put so much money in? History is really sometimes a litany of stupidity.
  • IA's tough residency restrictions for sex offenders seem to be driving them into neighboring states, much to the latters' glee. But there's still enough wrong with the law just in itself that they need to fix . . . and to serve as a guide for other states planning the same stunt.
  • A third of TX's jails failed state inspections already this year, and a fourth of all of them failed last year. Lawsuit city, baby!!! Just waitin' for the hammer to drop.
  • Finally, another study linking genetics and predispositions to addiction, this time to nicotine and to genes that give protection rather than make you more susceptible. Same outcome, though--the possibility of engineering new genetic treatments that could eventually tame our corrections sentencing problems, at a cost we don't look like we'll be ready for.

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