Wednesday, May 09, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Tuesday, May 8, 2007

  • WI continues to set a trail for insuring long-term criminality amongst its people. A rep there has introduced a bill to overturn fair hiring in the case of convicted child molesters, kidnappers, and murderers, making it more likely that they will return to those crimes. His argument? Employers should be able to hire whomever they want . . . as he tells them they can't hire convicted child molesters, kidnappers, and murderers.
  • More squeezing of the toothpaste tube, just pushing everything down on someplace else, this time in Brussels. The city installed radar traps to catch speeders . . . which has added 10,000 cases to the prosecutors' backlog and now they're begging to have the radar switched off. And here in the US, GA is seeing a similar squeezing as its public defenders are being cut 12%, including 14 actual PDs, as its prison budgets climb, not that there's a connection. Surely no defense counsel won't have much impact on availability of trials and pleas and on certainty of punishment. You know, there's this thing, called planning, that . . . oh, why should we start now?
  • Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy catches a couple of good news items at Sentencing Law and Policy, this one on a cost-effective shaming sentence at WalMart and this one on the inherent problems with making child rape a capital offense in TX, problems even TX prosecutors and victims’ groups agree about.
  • Grits for Breakfast has a nice post up on Tony Fabelo’s analysis of TX bills being considered right now which asserts that passage of the Senate version would prevent the state from having to build new beds. IOW, possible evidence-based policy. Let’s consider this an experiment to see how well it takes. I’m sure Grits will keep us informed.
  • Psychology and Crime News has discovered the potential danger of preemptive profiling, a la "Minority Report" but they don't connect it yet to the MRI research being done, as we've done here. I'll let you know when they connected all the dots. They also hit on that sad Amnesty International report of a while back on sexual violence against Native American and Alaskan Native women, in case you missed it here the first time.
  • MD's gov is considering signing a bill that lessens some drug crime penalties. His predecessor had moved the state in that direction but hadn't funded the necessary beds. There's serious question that this new bill will get funding, either--same old, same old, very high talk to walk ratio. What's interesting about this article is this quote from a former hardline Republican rep: "My thinking has completely changed," said Sen. Larry E. Haines (R-Carroll), telling colleagues of his recent work with addicts. "These people need treatment." We might get there before I die (at age 78--I did that Life Clock thing).
  • The meth task force in AZ has produced 10 recs for the gov there. Worth reviewing but I was mainly struck by this quote from the gov herself: "Marijuana is out there — we've got it. Coke is out there — it's bad. Prescription drug abuse — bad. All these things are bad," Napolitano said. "But you can add them all together and they probably wouldn't equal the social damage that is being caused in Arizona by methamphetamine today." Would have liked to have seen the data behind that.
  • Did they swing a backdoor deal in CA to have the gov there administratively parole a bunch of offenders rather than having to try to get the releases through the same legislature that just approved 53,000 beds and gave them the mess they have to start with? Officially, it's being denied, but a couple of the officials seem to be smirking.
  • OTOH, CA can rightfully be proud of its policies to get drunks off the road, which have several other states considering modeling them.
  • Finally, Mind Hacks has become a blog I really look forward to seeing each day, and it had a couple of really good posts recently. This one looks at Second Life, which I've never gone into, I swear, and the applicability of social psych findings on maintenance of "social distance" in virtual land, which reinforces my speculation that it could be a fertile ground for corr sent research. But this is the post I got the most from, which links us to the article you should absolutely read if you want a quick overview of the potential of neuro research to revolutionize corrections sentencing. It gives you a summary of the research and its implications in quick and really readable form. What are you still doing here?

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