Thursday, June 28, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Thursday, June 28, 2007

  • Well, we've gone over 2.2 m. people behind bars now, with the largest increase in numbers since 2000. I don't see how that can be, though, because violent crime is also increasing, and we all know that's impossible with more people behind bars. But I do get confused sometimes.
  • Speaking of confusion and growing prison populations, looks like CA may be getting closer to that population cap that fed judges may drop on it. When your "solution" is more of what you've been doing and hoping for a different result, it's hard to argue you're acting responsibility or courageously, and, for all the talk about the treatment and reforms in that supposed "solution," the walk is just building more bedspace that will quickly fill and make less available for policies that actually do cut crime and victims. I've said all along that CA's problem is a Gordian Knot that requires a sharp sword striking fast and hard. The courts seem to have the only available blade at this point, but those cuts don't have as much legitimacy as those of sensible and forward-thinking elected officials in a democracy. Still, sometimes you can only dance with the ones that brung you. (h/t Sentencing Law and Policy)
  • I think about CA at the same time I read of Chief Justice Roberts' dismantling of integrated public education and remember something I discovered on the school board of the small city I lived in for years. I just took for granted that everyone had the same goal of using schools to improve the city, to build a positive image for economic development and growth so that our kids would be able to stay and everyone would benefit. It took a long time for me to understand that some folks in town didn't want things to change that way. More people and growth, less traditional power for them. So they fought us on a range of things that seemed self-evident to anyone looking down the road in an area with a dwindling population. As I look at Roberts and at opponents of corr sent reform, I see the same thing--my failure to recognize at times that there are people who want more prisoners, more minorities behind bars, more investment in privatization. They frame their reasons in "acceptable" rationales but the fact is that they benefit from where we are now and, if anything, want even more of the same. Meanwhile, those of us really concerned about getting crim just resources cost-effectively distributed to limit crime and victims get caught arguing about those "acceptable" arguments and never address the real underlying motivations. Too many people benefit too much from having more crime and more prisons for us to convince them to follow another path, and we do ourselves no favors by ignoring this.
  • STEPHEN SMITH ALERT!!! STEPHEN SMITH ALERT!!! We're into our ninth day without a post at Sex Crime Defender. The withdrawal symptoms are getting serious!!!
  • Good spin out of ID's DOC, where the state made a mistake reporting their prison growth, got into a fed report, and hell was paid, apparently.
  • This is bizarre, even for TX. Serious and legit questions raised about whether a guy executed there was innocent after the sole witness against him recanted, saying the police coerced him. Okay, so the DA agrees to review and report. DA reports no problem, guy was guilty. DA was judge at guy's trial. Wuhhh??? Grits for Breakfast says this is proof of the need for a real Innocence Commission in the state. I'd say other things about TX are proven, but I don't want to get Grits upset.
  • Over at Talk Left, Last Night in Little Rock has discovered the selling of GPS tech to anyone with the minimal cash, including your crazy ex-sweetie, and recognizes the importance for what used to be called civil liberties in this country before we all turned into vapid, clueless fraidy-cats.
  • More TECHNOCORRECTIONS and fear. Here's how you get the genetic testing and manipulation off the ground full scale, ready to be incorporated into crim just policy at the right moment--say you're doing it to protect children. Once the scared clueless parents get the process fully realized, then say you'll just use it on sex offenders. Then add violent types. Then on those who "might be" sex offenders or violent types. Jeez, this is so easy to predict.
  • Looks like prenatal exposure to coke can follow the child into early school years, affecting attention spans and learning. But as we power up to condemn and man-min coke users, note that second-hand smoke exposure of mothers while pregnant leaves their kids with more serious later psychological problems than those of unexposed mothers. Tell me again why one is legal and the other isn't? (And take note of this as well: Adolescents attending schools in neighborhoods where alcohol ads litter the landscape tend to want to drink more and, compared with other children, have more positive views of alcohol, researchers report in this month's issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.)
  • Finally, a great call-out of the hypocrisy and outright silliness of politicians fighting the drug war now when they toked every day apparently and went on to become US Senators. Actually, that's the best reason to put tokers behind bars for a very long time I've heard yet. I'd actually vote for that.

1 comment:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It IS an astonishing display of chutzpah from the San Antonio DA, isn't it?

That said, one of the great things about Texas, Michael, is that our sense of superiority is so vast that you can say what you like, we can even own it as true, and still know in our hearts that we live someplace better than you. ;)

There's a Lyle Lovett tune in which newlyweds driving to Texas from the bride's home in Georgia are passing through Tennessee. Along the way she has the gall to ask the groom, "What's so great about the Lone Star State." There's a musical interlude, then the next line says, "Oh the road it looked so lovely as she stood there on the side, and I watched her in the rearview mirror as she cried and waved goodbye."