Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Around the Blogs, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage has found an intriguing report that THC, the active ingredient in pot, appears to have a therapeutic impact on brain tumors. As she notes, this might have implications for areas of corrections sentencing. I’m sure no drug warrior would let a loved one be cured, though. Wouldn’t it be something if it turns out that marijuana is the next best thing to aspirin? Wouldn’t that just, like, put the exclamation points on everything we’ve done in corr sent for the last several decades?
  • Corey Rayburn Yung has a typically insightful post up on “gray rape,” a new meme threatening to run us into a new hysteria, and the smart comments by a reality-clued DA on the implications of what the proponents of the concept are saying.
  • At Prevention Works, Matthew Bowen rightly laments the “bleaching” of the concept of “sexual harassment” to the point that kindergartener can be charged and forever labeled with the term. I would argue that Corey is making the same point about rape. When you water down and trivialize something so dangerous by calling anything that has a resemblance, no matter how tenuous, the same thing, you make it harder for us to take the serious cases seriously. Have we really lost the ability to keep our eyes on the ball that much?
  • Anne Reed at Deliberations has been running some good “Social Networking for Dummies” posts (she’s much too kind to call them that herself), which have included the web networks that have been growing. Of most interest to me has been her spot-on presentation of Second Life and the maybe infinite potential for simulation and experimentation that could happen there, which I have been pushing on crim majors with computer geek skills for months now. [After all, via Governing Through Crime, there’s apparently a new computer simulation game out there that will let you run your own private prison for profit. Or not. Am I wrong to be weirded out by that?] You’ll get a nice overview of Second Life, especially as it applies to legal stuff, and don’t miss the comments, where you’ll find out about a Second Life Bar Association and the expansion of cases that are exploding through that real fake world.
  • Finally, Grits for Breakfast has captured yet another story of how, in a time of generally declining victimization for most of us (although violent crime rates are inching up in a lot of places), the media (news and popular) have convinced folks that their likelihood of being a crime victim is high. The best book on this remains Katherine Beckett’s Making Crime Pay, which did a great job of showing that these polls follow, not lead, the actions of media and politicians in hyping fears of crime. And this poll again shows that telling scared people they should be “smart on crime” rather than “tough on crime” (think Woody Allen instead of John Wayne) is the best way of throwing in the towel possible in our efforts to bring sense to public safety and victim reduction.

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