Monday, May 07, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Monday, May 7, 2007

  • Maybe Ben and I were too quick to be cruel to poor Paris after her 45-day sentence to jail. After all, her offense wasn't her fault, her publicist told her it would be okey-dokey to drive. And she even TOLD THE TRUTH!!! Her distraught mom, after belittling the judge in the sentencing hearing, discovers the concept of justice: "This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayers' money with this nonsense. This is a joke." (Can I be there the next time Paris violates probation please??) Meanwhile, the car-washing, burger-eating role model has her fans in her corner: "She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives." She's gotten strength from the support: "I just want to thank Joshua so much for his kind words of love and support. God bless. Love Paris." Then she fired her publicist.
  • Speaking of virtual lives, I've mentioned occasionally my interest in the possibilities for corr sent applications from Second Life, but I never meant the possibility of legal action in the real world for rape in the virtual one. Steven Smith and Corey Yung both have some interesting thoughts at their blogs on the current situation, with links to other folks. Seriously, is anyone willing to bet on what we'll be amazed by in even five more years?
  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage has a couple (actually, many) good posts up right now, this one on a more common problem--the building of prisons but not having the resources to staff them, this time in WY--and more on one of the prototype "bad DAs" whom we chastise here periodically for tainting their entire profession, this one in Pam's home state of CO.
  • At Talk Left, we hear of a study of Megan's Law in NJ that shows sex offenses against children declining . . . 3 years before the law went into effect. That's a powerful law.
  • Matthew Bowen at Prevention Works follows up on a recent post here discussing the impact of pamphlets on young binge drinking (thanks for the kind words, Matthew) with the NCPC's own online pamphlets that you can download to do good in your own neighborhood. No excuses now.
  • More here on how females become alcoholic faster than males and may have worse cognitive effects as well as physiological effects. One positive for the double-X types: the subjects in this study were alcohol dependent for a lesser time than the males. Okay, know I'm grasping there.
  • Nice article here on NV's new prison buildup, going into details about other states' activities as well, including a discussion of "spending fatigue" as the promised payoffs in reduced recidivism from prison punishments actually appear to be the opposite. Good quotes from the Council of State Governments' Justice Center folks trying to bring some sense to debates. But, as one NV legislator says, "all it takes is one high-profile crime to pack a hearing with witnesses asking for longer sentences."
  • Finally, I mentioned the other day the work Bernard Harcourt has been doing looking at 70 or so years of our institutionalization of folks in this country and questioning whether we've built up prisons or just switched where we put mental health patients. I made the point that we need to look more at the composition of the two populations before we draw conclusions from the very well correlated data on homicides and institutionalized populations. Well, he did it, here, and does a very nice job with the analysis (h/t Prawfsblawg and Sentencing Law and Policy). The whole post is one of the best I've seen in the blogosphere for a long time and worth the time of anyone interested in the topic or just in how a blog can serve as a valuable channel for important topics. Good stuff to ponder this evening. So have at it.

No comments: