Thursday, April 26, 2007

News of the Day, Thursday, April 26, 2007

  • As we consider victims in the crim just process and the politics of it all, keep in mind this article on how rape victims face opposition in getting emergency contraception at public hospitals, opposition which will use “crime victims” as their major weapon to hammer in more prisons in every corr sent reform debate. People serious about crime victims don’t require them to pass an ideological test before the victims are allowed to reconstruct their lives.
  • A call for the US to renounce its “addiction to violence” here.
  • Details of the latest CA deal between the gov and legis on prisons. No sentencing commission at this point, though. I'm not sure it is wise to sever this from the proposed sent comm. WI did the same thing, as Joe Fontaine has been documenting here, doing the cost-exorbitant thing without ensuring that the possibly cost-effective thing will even happen. And, if it does happen, it will not be linked to the momentum and rationale of this policy decision structurally or cognitively, making it easier for commission opponents to argue that the eventual commission’s role isn’t as vital or as tightly linked to the crisis there as it clearly is at this moment. That, again, is what happened in WI and that commission is on the verge of disappearing. The precedent isn’t a good one who hope for effective action in CA.
  • I’m sorry but I wish I had a dollar for every “marijuana is stronger now” and “Baby Boomers don’t realize that it’s not their old pot” story that DC has cranked out in the last 2-3 decades. Here’s the latest one, featuring, surprise, that increasingly irrelevant Walters guy. Tell me again—how much stronger is this super pot than the crack, heroin, and meth that are actually killing people and could have more people and resources put on them if we didn’t keep spending money and time on finding out that this joint is stronger than Dad’s was???
  • Couple of Britain stories, one on how meth is beginning to show up there (and looks like Actifed will be disappearing soon) and one on the nation's latest crime stats (which, like us, show that some offenses seem to go up even when overall numbers go down). Thought this part was interesting: robberies are up but primarily due to people getting their cell phones ripped off on the street. But here's the good part. They aren't talking about longer sentences (much anyway) but doing things like working with the phone companies to get those stolen phones shut off as soon as possible, which might just detract from the offense as much as or more than the prospect of a couple of more years in prison, which apparently isn't deterring much as it is.
  • Teri Carns in AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) brings up this story on the high post-incarceration death rates of former inmates and links it to what they're finding in her state: Here's what apparently happens to some of our defendants after they're released from incarceration (note that this study showed that 9.9% of the inmates died over a follow-up period of 6.5 years). We lost 12 in a period of three years, out of a group of 1,934, or 6%; with the longer followup, our figures may not have been a lot different). The 12 people doesn't seem like a lot, but compared to other similar people, it may be high. Sounds like the main reaons are drug overdoses, and chronic diseases (e.g., Hepatitis C and AIDS). I thought it was interesting, partly in the context of explaining why there's such a sharp dropoff in crime commission after entering in to one's 40s - they're too sick, by that time, to get into trouble. Thanks for the note, Teri.
  • Research is finding that bringing their mothers into the therapy will help the children of domestic violence more than leaving them out.
  • And research on morphine indicates that these kinds of drugs block the brain's ability to strengthen synapses during learning and memory processes and "may provide a target for treatments of opiod addiction."
  • They're still trying to decide whether to pay for roads or judges in CO. Most of the "law and order" folks are for roads winning, btw. So much for that "certainty of punishment" thing.
  • Turns out the recent riot at the IN private prison was due in part to the AZ "visiting" inmates there not knowing the rules going in, like wearing green shirts to eat and not being able to smoke. Yet more things we learn that we never even thought of.
  • Finally, words of wisdom given to AL (Alabama, not Alaska) that really applies to the whole country. The EU ambassador visiting there said that, even with progress, the state's image internationally won't improve until they get their "excessive incarceration" and death penalty problems under control. Getting other countries to invest in your state depends greatly on whether folks from that country want to live there which depends greatly on how responsive the culture is to the likes and interests of the investing nation. Maybe business types can make folks listen where others can't.

1 comment:

rothmatisseko said...

My clients heard the IN "riot" was caused by gangs.

The story about green shirts makes the prison sound better, but to be honest I trust my guys more than their guards.