Monday, November 12, 2007

Around the Blogs, Veterans' Day Edition

  • Pam Clifton has a lot of good posts up at Think Outside the Cage right now, including this one on a parolee making sense about giving him a second chance, this one on ten reasons to be optimistic on our War on (Some) Drugs, and this one on TIME's recognition that our war on pot is (thankfully) beginning to fray along the edges as some cities realize that the scarce resources spent on this could be much better spent elsewhere.
  • Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy also notes the TIME article, alerts us to all the murderers getting probation in TX, cites the reemergence of banishment as a punishment, and slips in his blog's reading level as "Genius" by a rating service. (This blog is only "College," thus proving something you've thought about the difference between Doug's blog and mine for a long time.)
  • Corey Rayburn Yung lets us know that evidence of a woman's past sexual history is being permitted more and more in rape trials again.
  • CrimProf Blog has a note on a ND effort to get a fed court to declare hemp "rope, not dope." Of all the nonsense (and not the good kind) that surrounds our drug policy, historians may shake their heads the wildest at the prohibitions we've put on one of the most versatile and functional plants we can grow. I'm just waiting until they realize it will solve our energy crisis but give off fumes.
  • Doubt this goes anywhere, but Real Cost of Prisons has a story on a bill proposed in OR to require "racial impact statements" for any new criminal justice legislation. As someone who might be required to perform this analysis, I don't really have faith it could be done well or convincingly, but this certainly brings a new focus to the disparity issue in sentencing. It will be interesting to see how far this gets and then if it spreads.
  • And on this day, let's honor the soldiers like my late granddad who went into Europe in WWII and like this guy in our most recent war, highlighted in Mind Hacks and hope that, in the future, our leaders start taking these folks' lives into consideration before they commit them to the battles that have marked all our wars since my granddad's.

1 comment:

Christopher M. Hill said...

Just a thought on the racial impact statements being considered in Oregon...

The argument is frequently made -- and often empirically demonstrated -- that the best predictor of an offender's future criminal behavior is his past criminal behavior. Can we apply a similar argument to institutions and other social structures, including prisons? Namely, that the best predictor of a prison's future "behavior," (e.g., the rate at which it disproportionately incarcerates minorities) is the prison's past "behavior" with regard to minority overrepresentation? If so, an impact of this type may be limited only by the same flaws inherent in any other type of impact statements, projections, and risk assessments, all of which utilize indicators of past behavior or events in order to estimate a future outcome.