Thursday, May 03, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Thursday, May 3, 2007

  • College newspapers can sometimes surprise you with the quality of their work. This OK State U article is actually one of the best ones I've seen lately on the issues associated with sentencing violent and non-violent offenders. And explains a bit how OK got to this situation where it only has a couple hundred beds left, and that's not play.
  • Of course, OK's not the only state with prison pop probs. DE's got the story du jour today, although ID comes in a close second with its inability to get a prison for drug-abusers and their treatment approved.
  • Think you made it through the day crime-free today? Did you forward an e-mail without the permission of the original sender??
  • Speaking of e-mails, the newest attack on child porn will have ISP techs snitching and narcking. Not for child porn, but we know where the people doing this are heading, don't we?
  • After a couple of days of posts on how heavy, serial pot use can hurt your brain, seems fair to point out research that alcohol use (even light) will shrink the d--n thing. Direct linear relationship between the amounts of drink and shrink. Where's our Drug Czar??? Just when I was feeling good about how drinking helped my heart.
  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage points out that the CO gov got a lot of what he wanted in his rehab budget, aka "Recidivism Reduction Plan," this year, which is good news all the way around.
  • At first this sounds weird--a definite link between asthma and domestic violence--but add "stress" to the equation, and it seems pretty self-evident.
  • And Psychology and Crime News finds a study that indicates that Zimbardo's famous "prison" study may have gotten the results it did because of the volunteers who, uh, volunteered, which means not all of us may be quite as bad as the findings seemed to indicate.
  • All the DNA exonerations we've seen lately have thankfully forced law enforcement and prosecution to rethink their processes, according to this article. Taping confessions and dumping the traditional lineups have been beneficial for everyone, but collecting all the DNA that gets collected now may not be processable (?) with existing or even greater resources. The best thing is that people are finally getting away from eyewitness testimony, especially from just one witness, which cognitive scientists are showing usually has the same credibility as tea leaves.
  • Finally, lately I've found myself finding myself finding the analysis of sportswriters and their e-mailers more incisive and accurate than what passes for our punditry in Versailles on the Potomac. Here's a classic example from CNNSI today, that captures the hypocrisy and erratic nature of our incoherent, inconsistent, and self-defeating drug policy all in one very smart question and one extremely blunt answer that actually sums up our entire criminal justice process:

Is Josh Hamilton's story not just another example of athletes getting about a million more chances than anyone else in life? Come on, if I was addicted to drugs for four years, I doubt whatever organization I worked for would stick with me. One failed test where I work and your fired. But if you're an athlete, we'll give you five years to clean up and then talk about how courageous you are.-- Myles, Charlotte, N.C.
Can't argue with you, though I think the same would hold true in arts and entertainment. The bottom line is that Josh Hamilton has a skill set that is rare in the world, just like a painter, a singer, an actor, etc. Only a small percentage of people can actually do what he does at the world class level. So of course such people are going to be afforded more chances than people who are more easily replaced.

If Paris Hilton goes to jail, maybe we'll revisit this.

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