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Old 03-25-2008, 11:53 AM   #21
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And often on how you define "crime"...
That's what I meant by "sensitity towards crime". Some people are very sensitive and think for example that smoking pot is as much a crime as robbing a granny at gunpoint. Some people are less sensitive and think it's not. Sorry if I wasn't clear...
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:27 PM   #22
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1) do you know someone who has been in the system - for what and how long
2) what were the consequences for them economically after they got out
3) did they go back in
4) do you support redirecting the $ into education, mental health, rehab and other support services to help ameliorate the conditions that may feed people into the system
5) what other policy changes do you see are needed?
1) No... I try to shelter myself from the underbelly of life, as much as I can.
2) N/A
3) N/A
4) no
5) I have no clue. Repeat offenders need to be kept away from the rest of society. First time offenders need to be thoroughly intimidated by the system, somehow, bearing consequences for their actions so that (theoretically) they do not become repeat offenders.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:57 PM   #23
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I totally agree, particularly as a parent, that enforcing laws and having deterrents are good measures to provide safety in our communities. Case in point is the alarming rise in crime in Oakland CA since Jerry Brown left...many people thought he was too police-state-ish but look what happens when you let down your guard.

However, taking a step back and realizing how many criminals are severely under-educated, come from broken homes, abuse, drug addicted parents etc etc...aren't there some measures we can take to prevent people from turning to crime & drugs? I just don't think we can lock everyone up - and once you send someone in - they often come out better criminals with more connections to criminals than when they went in - like getting a degree when you were only an intern.

And aside from all of that - the insane amount of money going into this system boggles my mind and seems unsustainable.
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:16 PM   #24
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However, taking a step back and realizing how many criminals are severely under-educated, come from broken homes, abuse, drug addicted parents etc etc...aren't there some measures we can take to prevent people from turning to crime & drugs?
Absolutely. First we might offer scholarships to Harvard or MIT to any criminal who might like one. Those who pass on this program should be treated with full respect; and the federal government should pay them weekly approximately 110% of what they would earn as criminals and dope dealers and hookers muggers and pimps. Homeland Security could administer this program, and fund social scientists and economists who whose efforts would be needed to create suitably generous pay scales.

We might model this program on farm programs such as set-asides, in which we pay farmers a nice living to dissuade them from growing all those crops.

I think it would be easy.

Ha
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:55 PM   #25
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Absolutely. First we might offer scholarships to Harvard or MIT to any criminal who might like one. Those who pass on this program should be treated with full respect; and the federal government should pay them weekly approximately 110% of what they would earn as criminals and dope dealers and hookers muggers and pimps. Homeland Security could administer this program, and fund social scientists and economists who whose efforts would be needed to create suitably generous pay scales.

We might model this program on farm programs such as set-asides, in which we pay farmers a nice living to dissuade them from growing all those crops.

I think it would be easy.

Ha
has it been a bad day?

For example, quality preschool has been shown to reduce costs/burdens on overall public institutions from special ed to lower rates of using welfare and prison...that is one example...

It's kind of late once someone has established poor judgement, has no possibility of earning a decent wage, was abused, neglected etc etc...but we have to start somewhere?

I see why politicians don't touch this one!
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:29 PM   #26
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has it been a bad day?

For example, quality preschool has been shown to reduce costs/burdens on overall public institutions from special ed to lower rates of using welfare and prison...that is one example...

It's kind of late once someone has established poor judgement, has no possibility of earning a decent wage, was abused, neglected etc etc...but we have to start somewhere?

I see why politicians don't touch this one!
Here is the problem throughout the 60, 70s we spent a lot money and time trying to rehabilitate criminals, teach them new life skills etc. Still crime rates increased and recidivism . The tide shifted in the 80s back to punishment, and by the 90s we see three strikes law passed and the emphasis shifts to getting career criminals behind bars. Prison population increases and crime rates decrease. People can argue that higher prison population is unrelated to the crime rate, but common sense suggests otherwise. With this is history it is very hard for any politician to say lets help the inmates instead of punishing them.

As for Pre School programs the long-term effectiveness of programs like Head Start is very debatable. Still it is very popular because even its worse detractors will concede that it doesn't do any harm, just costs money.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:10 PM   #27
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1) do you know someone who has been in the system - for what and how long
2) what were the consequences for them economically after they got out
3) did they go back in
4) do you support redirecting the $ into education, mental health, rehab and other support services to help ameliorate the conditions that may feed people into the system
5) what other policy changes do you see are needed?
Yes. A chronic drug user and low level dealer. There were probably lots of petty crimes to get money, but never any charges for those. Got a dishonorable discharge for drugs, but never convicted of them in criminal courts. Finally convicted of sex crimes related to supplying drugs to minors. Spent about 18 months.

Was a day laborer before and after conviction. I think the drugs and bad choices messed up his life. If it was any harder economically because of the conviction I couldn't tell, though he did move to another state.

As far as I know one incarceration (not counting Navy experience where he spent some time in the brig) was enough.

I support helping people before they end up messing up their lives. But I also support very much stronger punishment for those demonstrating criminal intent. I've been a victim of multiple assaults and burglaries. If someone deliberately sets out to do a crime (career criminals, premeditated intent, that sort of thing) I think they should be sent away from society for very long times. I suspect many crimes are never reported or caught, so cost of each criminal is much larger than a typical crime, since multiple offenses are likely committed for every one caught. Possibly many many multiple offenses for every conviction.

I like that the burden of proof is a bit high. But if prosecutors can meet that burden, then I'd like to see time spent away from society should be very much longer than it is now.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:34 PM   #28
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Here is the problem throughout the 60, 70s we spent a lot money and time trying to rehabilitate criminals, teach them new life skills etc. Still crime rates increased and recidivism . The tide shifted in the 80s back to punishment, and by the 90s we see three strikes law passed and the emphasis shifts to getting career criminals behind bars. Prison population increases and crime rates decrease. People can argue that higher prison population is unrelated to the crime rate, but common sense suggests otherwise. With this is history it is very hard for any politician to say lets help the inmates instead of punishing them.

As for Pre School programs the long-term effectiveness of programs like Head Start is very debatable. Still it is very popular because even its worse detractors will concede that it doesn't do any harm, just costs money.
The prek thing has been studied - here is one that studied kids till they were age 40 to see the benefits http://siteresources.worldbank.org/I...eschoolppt.pdf

I agree with your overview - and i'm not really sure what to do about people who are already adults - I do think there are some who can recover/rehab but the stats are not good for certain drugs (something like 80% failure for meth! eek).

But i'm also concerned that the lack of investment in other programs - such basic stuff as maintaining quality education across the board - will only worsen this situation as middle class kids are depressed and resorting to drugs etc...

Anyhow, i wasn't trying to debate the issue of crime - just what people's experiences were given the stats - but there is also the case that some of us are very isolated from crime, while others receive an extremely high share...
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:20 AM   #29
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People make their own decisions no matter their lot in life. One of my best friends growing up had all the cards stacked against him - an alcoholic father who beat him regularly, he was a nice guy but not intellectually gifted - not stupid but no star either. When he graduated high school he was given 30 days to move out.

So he goes in the US Marines and stays there 10 years, leaves and has a hard time finding work since there's not "much use in the civilian market for an ejection seat mechanic". Burns his draft card at a party in Da Nang. Drifts around the country doing different jobs he can find, etc. Had a heart attack and died at 49. But he was never arrested to my knowledge.

One of the neighbors had five kids, four of which were academic stars and went to ivy league schools on scholarships, the 5th one was a burglar and is now doing 30+ years for repeated offenses. Go figure.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:22 AM   #30
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Walt, i think we can point to the worst places in the world and find the handful who have remarkable survival and even success stories. However, on a macro level - that just doesn't work.

That's why statistically you know if a kid grows up in one neighborhood vs. another (regardless of how great or screwed up their family is) - they have a huge percentage chance of doing better or worse - and even if they screw up a wealthier family can send them to rehab or give them a couch to live on etc.

It's akin to saying - hey, i know that virus is contagious, but i knew this guy who was around all those sick people and didn't get sick.

Oprah withstood incredible poverty and abuse and is an amazing example - but it is unfair to point to the others in her lot who were not able to make it out the way she did.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:53 AM   #31
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My adjacent neighbor, a woman in her 60's, went to prison for 17 months. She was a babysitter. A child in her care was found to have 2 skull fractures. She said she didn't do anything, that she was set up by the parents, who must have hurt the child, dropped him off with her and then when they picked him up, rushed him to the ER, accusing her of hurting him.

On the advice of her lawyer she plead guilty to a reduced charge of child endangering I think, admitting only that she didn't seek help for him when she realized something was wrong. The judge must have seen it another way. When she went to court to enter her plea, she was sentenced immediately and taken directly into custody. We were shocked. She didn't get to come home and make arrangements before going to prison, she was just gone. She took the plea deal because she thought she'd get probation.

I wish there had been a trial, I wanted to know what happened that day. I wanted to hear her side and the parents side. I've known her for over 15 years and I've seen her with kids. Our deck and backyard look right into her yard and her house. While I would not like to have her as my mother-in-law(she's manipulative and pushy), I never saw or heard anything to make me question her behavior with kids.

She's been out a few years now and had a few years where she was not allowed contact with children. She's in her 70's now. Luckily, the child recovered completely.

This whole thing really shook me. I was never close with her, but I had plenty of conversations with her, especially when my kids were little. I am not a good judge of people, especially in the "gut feeling" way, but I never would have questioned a child's safety in her care. I am still undecided as to whether she hurt this kid. If she did hurt him, then she certainly paid the price. If she didn't do it, then she's stronger than I would have imagined, being able to get through the whole thing.

So that's our neighborhood convicted felon. There are probably others.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:26 AM   #32
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Quote:
1) do you know someone who has been in the system - for what and how long
2) what were the consequences for them economically after they got out
3) did they go back in
4) do you support redirecting the $ into education, mental health, rehab and other support services to help ameliorate the conditions that may feed people into the system
5) what other policy changes do you see are needed?


Ah, remembered another one. A distant relative a couple years younger than I am, but someone I lived with the family for a few months way back when. Has been arrested multiple times for burglary and spent multiple stints in jail (always short ones) as a result.

Hard to say economic consequences. Can't really find much of a job beyond janitor or basic construction, but that was true before as well. Never seems to keep one for very long. One thing I was struck with when I spent some time with him as a teenager was that he viewed rules differently. To him, rules were the code that limited the punishment if you got caught. They had nothing to do with what you should or should not do. He has no internal concept of right and wrong that I saw, only a shrewd calculation of the likelihood of being implicated in any particular action and its subsequent consequences.

Two older siblings are straight arrows and responsible members of society. A younger sister was never convicted of anything herself, but is on-again off-again married to a career burglar (who also spent multiple stretches in jail) and mostly lives on welfare herself. Always seemed like a nice kid to me, so not sure how she ended up like this.
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