Monday, October 15, 2007

News of the Day, Monday, October 15, 2007

  • We often talk here about making sure that the folks who don’t need to go to prison don’t so that there is plenty of room and time for the sociopaths who do need to. Wanna see what one of the latter looks like? This guy’s in the Picture Dictionary.
  • Here’s another guy who deserves whatever we give him, killed two cops and almost a third in TX. But here’s another point. The story is about how these incidents are growing and becoming more brutal. Which ties back to another thing we say over and over here—when the law loses its legitimacy and when justice is passed off as something someone else is responsible for, those who put their lives out there for law and justice suffer the consequences. Says a TX Ranger, "There is a basic lack of respect for authority," says Caver, who is overseeing the Odessa investigation and has noticed a significant shift in attitudes in other Texas cities. "Lately, it seems like there is a brutality and a willingness to cross a line, to take a life, even if it is a police officer. The capacity is growing, and it is disturbing."
  • OTOH, there are guys who are judged to no longer need to be in prison and live up to that, despite the histrionic politics that may accompany their release. VA politicians of both parties went wild over the parole of two convicted murderers a few years back, and Real Cost of Prisons has the rarely published story of how those guys have succeeded in turning their lives around, despite all the confident predictions that such a thing is impossible for anyone like that. It really is rare to have the media cover guys like these, and they certainly won’t hang in our minds like the two parolees in CT who failed murderously, but it can and does happen on Planet Reality when we care to travel there.
  • CT facing up to the problem of having few to no residential placement programs for sex offenders, meaning that at least one guy may be homeless, which should keep him away from children pretty effectively.
  • Planning more prison capacity in ME even as the governor there tries to put the state over the county jails.
  • Meanwhile, OR looks ready to add several thousand prison beds by adopting yet-another mandatory minimum initiative, this time for drug and property offenders, increasing their inmate pops by a third. The legislator behind it has won these efforts before and says the costs sound okay to him. So it must be okay.
  • Good evidence that doing coke while pregnant does indeed mess up your later kid: Prenatal exposure to cocaine may have a lasting effect on a child's growth, new findings suggest. In a study of 224 children followed from birth to age 10, researchers found that those whose mothers had used cocaine during the first trimester tended to grow at a slower rate than their peers. On average, these children were smaller in terms of height, weight and head circumference by the age of 10, the study authors report in the journal Pediatrics. Past research has tied prenatal cocaine exposure to a number of developmental delays and behavioral problems in childhood. Some studies, though not all, have also found that exposure to the drug may slow infants' growth -- and the long-term effects have not been clear.
  • Sometimes, like movie trailers, if you see the headline, you’ve gotten the whole story: Cannabis Use, Effect And Potential Therapy For Alzheimer's, MS and Parkinson's. [And while you’re at Science Daily, treat yourself to a full report on how opioids control pain and reward and therefore addictive behaviors.]
  • Congress considering guideline to let judges release terminally ill offenders to die at home, doubtful that DOJ will put it into effect. To quote: A Justice Department official last year called the proposed guidelines "an excess of permissiveness" that could be "an incitement to prisoners" to file lawsuits.” Compassionate conservatism.

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