Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News of the Day, Wednesday, August 15, 2007

  • Meth use when you’re young may addle your brain when you’re old. It did for mice. Good to know.
  • I know I come off as a bleeding heart here sometimes, and as a rule I’m very sympathetic to the wives of these hypocritical preachers who talk but don’t walk, but even I’m disappointed in the outcome of the trial of the wife who killed her husband in TN. She argues with him about his treatment of her and “snaps,” blowing him away, and gets 67 days and released after therapy. There almost has to be more than has gotten into the press, especially since her jury refused to convict on first degree after she told them he had forced her into “unnatural” sex (do guidelines systems now need to rethink their “mitigators”?), but this is the sort of case that feeds public perceptions of folks getting away with murder in this country, literally. That makes all of corrections sentencing policy that much harder. And I won’t even bring up that one of the things they reportedly fought about was her giving money to that Nigerian prince who keeps popping up in your e-mail. Odd that this story doesn’t mention that anymore.
  • A really nice rant against the true drug problem facing us, alcohol, especially consumed by young people. Unfortunately, it’s in Britain. At least CA is slapping taxes on those insidious “alcopops” that truly heinous people are marketing to young people.
  • Here’s a take on the recent triple murder in CT that I’m disappointed I didn’t see coming. Black community members who see these kinds of killings regularly are questioning why the media and policymakers only make a big deal of it when it’s a white, upper-middle class family. I would recommend David Anderson’s Crime & the Politics of Hysteria for the essential criteria that drive these scares, including the importance of innocent white victims. It’s all too predictable and sad for those not fitting the necessary requirements for us to care. (h/t CrimProf Blog)
  • Strong link seen in pot smoking, age-related blindness. Oh, wait. Not “pot,” but tobacco. Hmm.
  • The Duke lacrosse case ends (?) with the bad DA, now disbarred, complaining about “fundamental unfairness” about how he was treated. I wish I could spell that German word for “nice to see he had it coming.”
  • OK about to be getting 3000 or so inmates . . . from AZ. This reflects what we’ve mentioned here, that, as long as states don’t have to construct new prisons, the long-term costs of their policies remained somewhat deferred, at least until there aren’t alternative sellers offering more prison space in other states. For a lot of states, that can put off the day of reckoning for a longer time, even as those states shuffle budget problems. IOW, folks thinking cost crunches will bring corr sent changes need to look more closely at the individual state situations. It’s one more reason why I think changes will mainly come through TECHNOCORRECTIONS as corporations figure out how to sell that set of “corrections” cheaper than private prisons can. Which makes the private prison companies probably a bigger opponent to TECHNO than public concerns. Wondering what OK will do when it has no place to put its own state prisoners? So is OK.
  • An effective drug to counteract cocaine overdoses has been found. For those of you who think I never post anything upbeat.
  • Derrick Jackson’s op-ed in the Boston Globe on Obama’s “on this hand, on the other hand” approach to drug sentencing and its impact on minority communities nicely lays out how an Obama Administration wouldn’t likely be any better on crim just issues than the last failed Democratic presidency on those issues. But what’s most interesting in the piece is how Obama says he’ll call for a commission to outline the problems and disparities with the current 100:1 crack:powder system so he can base legislation to remedy the situation. Uh . . . doesn’t the US already have a commission that’s done that? What does it say about that commission that a US senator seriously being considered for the Presidency is saying things like this? Reminds me of my time in WI when the governor and legislators were calling for a commission to look at disproportionate minority representation in prisons when they had a sentencing commission mandated to do just that. Of course, that probably explains much of why that commission went belly up. It remains odd but not inexplicable that policymakers will create these bodies, then ignore or, worse, forget them. And says a lot, I think, to those states considering sentencing commissions themselves and what they think those bodies will actually accomplish.

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