Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dog Bites Man . . . Again

While this report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in criminal justice, it would just be Center for Crime Control) demonstrating yet once again that sticking juveniles in adult systems not only doesn't help anything, it ends up creating more and longer criminals, it's ALREADY BEEN DEMONSTRATED. This is not news. It's like reporting the sun warms things up. Maybe coming from the CDC will make a marginal difference, but I'm not betting a penny on that. As the Little Hoover Commission famously said of CA's incredible and determined mess of a system, the shelves are filled with reports, all of them by reputable and respected institutions. We don't need more reports finding reality all over again. We need plans for action, not plans for reports. We need better and more channels and messages for disseminating the knowledge than the occasional press conference and news release and hearing with choruses already singing the hymn. We need to attack and counterattack, not issue and wait for deniers and obstructionists to slap their foreheads and proclaim, "How could we have been so wrong?!!" Ignorant is always easier and keeps anyone from having to take responsibility. It's really hard to overcome, and how much history do we need before we admit that the way we're doing things hasn't done the overcoming?

I understand that it's tempting to wait for reality to force itself on those who deny it, as it did to the USSR, for example, and that alternatives will need to be immediately at hand when the delusions finally collapse. So, these reports do serve an important purpose if that's the way this goes, too. But we're dealing with nonlinearity and tipping points here, with inertia and sunk costs and other ways to keep the present system running for a long time to come, like the nationalization of our prison populations that we've discussed here, that will prove powerful in counterresponse. Again, one reason I think TECHNOCORRECTIONS will out is simply because it harnesses "toughness" ("I wouldn't want that done to me") with cost-reduction. So, those issuing reports like these, if they also fear the TECHNO intrusions and invasions in traditional concepts of liberty that we supposedly hold hallow, will need to be more aggressive and willing to take their positions into direct confrontation to demonstrate superiority. Having a CDC report to cite will be a nice weapon, but it will take a whole lot more to see the vision they're promoting put into effect.

(h/t Real Cost of Prisons)

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