Friday, June 29, 2007

Around the Blogs, Friday, June 29, 2007

  • Adam Kolber at Neuroethics & Law Blog catches a New Yorker piece on the current and maybe future use of MRIs and “lie detection” in trials, with appropriate skepticism but also recognition of the potential.
  • Lots of good new posts on that restorative justice conference he’s been covering at Grits for Breakfast.
  • From Psychology and Crime News, an interesting study with replicable methodology apparently on how juries get verdicts wrong (guilty and not guilty) about 1 out of every 8 cases. (See also here.)
  • Corrections Community, the NIC blog, directs us to an NCCD report that gives an interesting and different perspective to the usual news on corr sent of women. OK is far and away the most punitive state for women if only adult incarceration is viewed. However, add in probation, parole, and juvenile detention and it’s not even near the top. (TX stays high, though, Grits, don’t worry.) Nice report with several things to get from it. (Relatedly, check out how growth in female population is hammering IA’s budget right now.)
  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage notes that the U.S. Conference of Mayors has called for a public health approach to substance abuse intervention, with good recs and cover for the rest of us from attacks that we as fiscal conservatives are somehow scummy tokers. (Although I don't guess those are mutually exclusive.)
  • At Prevention Works, Matthew Bowen has a fine piece on the increase in crime across many nations, not just the US. Good stuff to learn and also to think on after surfing on. We always think about our crime “waves” and “declines” here in isolation from what is happening other places. So we’re always claiming success for whatever’s happening when crime goes down and push blame elsewhere when crime goes up, but how can any one policy here be responsible for either if those same things are happening other places outside our borders, too? Yes, as Matthew notes, there are some common elements of increases—“a combination of a high percentage of young males, ample drugs, and easy access to guns”—but those things also have held when crime has gone down. I know the dead horse here has been thoroughly beaten, but it’s time we recognize that the nonlinearity of events caused by changes in how we interact, changes that are the result more of individual experience and culture than effective policy, causes the ups and downs we see. IOW, we need more humility, maturity, and tolerance (not things most practitioners in corr sent are good at) in the face of these ebbs and flows and learn to focus on structuring and containing these interactive patterns rather than continually looking, as we do, inconsistent, hypocritical, and frequently irrational. And, as Matthew says, more people need to learn more about more preventative techniques to take more responsibility for their own lives and potential victimization. I personally think that’s one area that we really need to explore much more thoroughly in our research.

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