Monday, October 01, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Monday, October 1, 2007

  • Prevention Works lets us know that this month is Crime Prevention Month, one of the worthiest causes there is. Find out about events and what you can do here.
  • Doug Berman notes this fine OH article on the difficulties of collecting sentencing data (in this case, race data required by law but ignored by judges, you know, those guys who uphold our laws and punish us for ignoring them). The comments indicate that it's a problem in other states, and I can testify that it was a major problem in every state I've worked in, settled better in some than others. Anyone planning a sentencing system (guidelines, information, whatever) who doesn't consider the implementation of the data collection is playing games, whether they know it or not. DOC's can sometimes offset the lack of court support, but this is an area where hardball, if necessary, will have to be played fully if you want reforms to work. Maybe that's what happened in AL (Alabama, not Alaska) where they're reporting excellent cooperation at this point with submission of worksheets in their new system. Good work and good luck in the future to those good people down there.
  • Speaking of new systems, Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage has good news that CO is finally manning, I mean, peopling, its new commission, which indicates it may be getting up and running soon. I've mentioned before that they are apparently planning to do their commission by piggybacking on their excellent state statistical analysis center and only hiring a part-time director. I've also mentioned what I've thought about that idea and how unfortunate the state is that it wants to diminish the SAC's usual work by refusing to do an adequate job staffing a real commission. Oops. I guess I just mentioned it again.
  • TX news. Becoming the poster child for putting innocent people in prison might be getting the state to consider a real innocence commission. We'll see it when we believe it. And Grits for Breakfast lets us in on a critical and insightful National Institute of Corrections report on a state jail self-cannibalizing that does indeed sound like it could apply to way too many jails not just in TX but around the country.
  • And finally, let's end with a bit of attention to some of the major health care issues facing our corrections sentencing policy in the near future. Here, we see that 20% of CT inmates are mentally ill. Keep in mind as you read about the demands that puts on prisons for staffing and health care that the definition probably refers to those "currently" rather than those "ever." Frankly, 20% sounds low for a lot of prison systems out there. And here we get an idea of the impact of AIDS among inmates in DE and MD, although the numbers do seem to be decreasing in MD. Health care budgets for prisons are growing significantly across the nation. Will our attention?

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