Monday, January 07, 2008

News of the Day, Monday, January 6, 2007

  • Violent crime fortunately down for first half of year, actually all index crimes. But not uniformly across geographies and jurisdictions. Raising again the point that, if a state has a prison pop with a pretty constant rate of growth or non-growth and crime goes up in some parts of the state but not in others, are the prisons deterring or not? Or is something else going on that our top-down, statewide corrections sentencing policies only touch tangentially if at all? If the latter, maybe it would be worth finding out more about that "something else" and trying to use it in our favor.
  • IA debating a new prison, IN considering using inmates as firefighters again (only the "good" ones, of course) and ME taking good look (after most of the horses out of the barn) at the intricacies of sex offender registry policies.
  • Here's a major reason I always include "habitual offender" with "violent offender" in that list of folks who do need to be put away a long time. When you've got a guy with a record like his, we do have enough research to indicate that there's probably been some violent crime in there, or at least the potential for it, to justify not releasing him at his age. I'm not going to whack the officials here because this is always a tough call, but we need to remember him when we talk about reducing prison populations and think and work through everything necessary to do the best we can about their releases. These guys make it virtually impossible for people who really do try to turn their lives around to win public sympathy and support.
  • Finally, turns out that kids may be "sipping" but not "drinking" alcohol at home at earlier ages and in bigger numbers than previous studies have investigated and have thus overlooked the parents' roles in their imbibement (?). Do the sippers go on to have greater propensities or problems? Not clear, but it is clear that we need to dig a little deeper before we draw our conclusions about juvenile alcohol use and abuse.

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