Sunday, November 12, 2006

Get Smart On Crime

Grits for Breakfast has this on getting smarter about crime from a Texas perspective, explaining why Texas jails are overcrowded. You'll also find an intriguing link to a piece about government surveillance by the ACLU.

From Corrections Sentencing there is this interesting review by Michael Connelly posted Saturday, November 11, 2006:
"Last month I posted a book review essay on The Ethical Brain and The Future of the Brain to recommend these studies of cognitive and neuro-research as first steps to understanding where the pharmaceutical and genetic aspects of technocorrections might take us. I've got a couple more to recommend now. The first is along the same line as the first two, Richard Restak's The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety Is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love. Restak covers a lot of the same material as the others, the way the new technologies for imaging the workings of the brain are telling us so much about how it works and its relationship to our consciousness (which turns out to be a lot like a third party to our brain like the people we deal with every day are). The brain knows and does a hell of a lot more than "we" are privy to, and the imaging is giving us our first real clues to that, creating a "neurosociety" in which "brain science influences every aspect of daily life."As I mentioned before, this clearly includes corrections sentencing."

The other recommended read is, Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved:

"The title should give the link to corrections sentencing away.In a way I felt sorry for de Waal in this book as he presented the decades of work he's done with other species that demonstrates conclusively to any non-human-obsessed mind that morality exists along a spectrum among species, not a sharp separation between us (really, we're still putting ourselves up as paragons of morality??) and the rest of the animal kingdom. *** If genetics and gene expression in given environments are involved in setting our own and our community's standards of right and wrong, then we will have to consider the arguments of those who argue specialness for their defendants and we will have to consider the possibilities that genes make us different from each other, not "equal under the law."We've based our law, our codes, our justifications for sanctions and mercies on views of humanity that are daily being shown to be as wrong as Locke, as wrong as Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Luther, Rousseau and Marx. This is serious stuff, folks. And the guys doing the challenging are not under our tent and, in de Waal's case, suffer us not very gladly. They will be setting the new rules, the new paradigms, and we can embrace them and make sure our truly beneficial contributions are incorporated or we can play off in our corner and let people who don't have our experience and mistakes to learn from make the new policies. Or as a wise man once said, "we can allow irresponsible people to use this knowledge in ways that are not always to our advantage." The choice is ours. But time's a-wastin'."
Okay, so on to some Sunday football, America's real religion.

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