Thursday, May 24, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Thursday, May 24, 2007

  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage informs us that CO’s innovative sentencing commission bill was signed yesterday by the gov there. I’ve praised the intent and set-up here before so I won’t go into that again. 26 members is way too many, by half, but, with strong and clear executive leadership setting the mission and chores, they have an opportunity there to set some new paths in how commissions and sentencing policy work. Good luck to them.
  • Prevention Works has been the go-to place for news and ideas about cybercrime and its prevention. It has a very good post up right now on the cyberattacks on the Estonian government and how we’re not immune here (and may be as or more vulnerable). Technology is always rolled out with its advantages and the blowups don’t get known until later, which is our cautionary tale for the day once more on the topic we always harp on here—TECHNOCORRECTIONS—as well.
  • Selected counties will be reimbursed up to a collective $ 1 million for using inmates to help pick up the tons of trash that litter the state, the Arkansas Highway Commission voted Wednesday.
  • Uh, if you already know the conclusion, why are you spending this money? Oh, wait. It's IL. The state plans to spend more than $450,000 to study the state’s expansive prison system in order to gauge what kinds of repairs need to be made to the facilities. . . . A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections, or DOC, said the study is unlikely to show a need for any new prisons to be built.
  • WY still having problems with rehabbing meth houses so they can be lived in again. Wants to force landlords to fix them up, landlords want the gov't to pay since it wasn't their fault. Bills dying so far.
  • Alert Grits for Breakfast!!! An interesting and maybe even workable bill approved by the TX state senate. A $5 charge per customer at strip clubs (how much the owner could get away with passing on to said customer unclear) to be used in the state's new sexual assault prevention fund and to the state health opportunity pool for poor people. I predict, though, that this will pull in so much cash that several other major taxes will fall in TX before it's through. The question is, how many other states follow suit?
  • Finally, some even better news. An Institute of Medicine panel has called for giving the US Food and Drug Admin the authority to regulate tobacco products and for raising cig taxes. As the panel head said, "If tobacco cigarettes were now being introduced into the marketplace for the first time, there is no doubt that they would be banned under any one of several consumer protection statutes." Lots of other good recs. Why is this necessary? Well, "Tobacco use causes 440,000 deaths every year in the United States, and secondhand smoke claims another 50,000 lives every year." Meanwhile our prisons bust our budgets for other crim just and other needs filled with pot users and dealers.

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