Monday, July 30, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Monday, July 30, 2007

  • I’ve thought for a long time that the civil justice system might serve as a useful alternative to crim just and its enormous and ineffective costs if some imaginative folks would put their heads together. Well, looks like some have. Suing gangs to stop violence, using injunctions to crack down on associations. All kinds of worrisome precedents being set, but it sounds like this is effective in crime reduction so maybe the tradeoff will be worth it. Now let’s work on creative ways personal restitution can be worked into the civil side and avoid much of the crim just process altogether.
  • Speaking of civil remedies, very good article on civil commitment of sex offenders in WI, the difficulties of treating hard-core offenders and the payoffs (or the lack thereof), if you want some background on the topic.
  • Speaking of guys who should be put away for life, when (not if) this guy gets taken down for doing more than merely parading his pedophilia on a weblog, I have to say I’ll be one of the people supporting a very long term for him. The anger that people like this generate bleeds over onto a lot of people who can be seriously treated or who just messed up one time and adds to the general inability to think rationally about what needs to be done. I hope they catch him at something soon, but before he gets too far along.
  • At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman notes some interesting SSRN articles, including one on plea bargaining as a collective action problem which allows resource-challenged DAs nevertheless to credibly and successfully threaten disorganized defendants. And Sex Crimes Blog also links you to some interesting studies on, you know, sex crimes, here.
  • The third judge for the 3-judge panel to decide whether to cap CA’s prison pop has been named, a Jimmy Carter appointee, which likely multiplies the likelihood of the cap happening a great big bit, but also means the opponents will have more ammo to claim “judicial activism” and politics. We'll see if they keep that up when the US Sup Court overturns, supporting their political arguments.
  • Over at Think Outside the Cage, a story on churches that actually pay attention to the Christian call to tend to the prisoners, apparently with good effect.
  • Along that same line, a really good story on the Social Justice Committee at the DE state pen, violent and lifer types who, with the help of the religious groups, are talking publicly at meetings to bring dialogue with the community and the policymakers who support tough corr sent. Definitely the sort of piece to prevent the “one size fits all” perspective, even if these guys will likely never see the benefits of their efforts here.
  • If you ever wanted a good look at the politics of being a prosecutor, this article from OR is what you’ve been looking for. Not to say a happy look. And if you ever wanted a good look at enforcing sex offender laws, this SD article, well, you know, and again, not happy (although inmate numbers down in SD this year).
  • Prevention Works has a nice post up on a NIDA study showing a 10-year gap on average between commencing an alcohol abuse problem and getting treatment for it and ponders when the abusers might have gotten started.
  • Addiction experts are saying that the double standard we allow substance abusing celebrities makes it even harder to rehab.
  • At CrimProf Blog, a spotlight on one of the really good guys in corrections sentencing policy, Professor David Boerner of Seattle University, chair of the WA sent commission, and creator of “civil commitment.”
  • Finally, the delivery system for bringing surveillance tech to its full behavioral guidance potential is here now. Right now it will be used to deliver shocks necessary to the brains of epileptics to stop oncoming seizures, but, when electrical neuro-impulses can be specified for specific behaviors, what’s to stop us from wanting to use it on the bad ones? Or for delivering shocks to certain brain areas when offenders step outside their assigned zones? Oh, yeah, I forgot. Simply science fiction. Go back to whatever you were doing.

1 comment:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Gotta disagree with you that suing in civil court to stop gangs is the way to go, though I agree the civil courts may provide alternatives to many things we've criminalized. The New York Times recently editorialized against that approach and I blogged approvingly of their comments here.