Friday, October 09, 2009

Odds and Ends

I wanted to point out several recent items that may interest Grits readers:

Mental illness and juvenile justice
I regretted not being able to attend a juvenile justice policy discussion at the Texas Public Policy Foundation yesterday (I had to spend my afternoon performing tasks someone would actually pay me for). However the Daily Texan covered the event in an article titled "Screening for mental illness prevents jail time." House Corrections Committee member (and former chairman) Jerry Madden, Juvenile Probation Commission boss Vicki Spriggs, and LBJ School instructor Michele Deitch were the featured speakers.

What are conservatives saying about criminal justice reform?
Also from TPPF, check out this remarkable document (pdf), "What Conservatives Are Saying About Criminal Justice Reform?" It's a two-pager consisting of quotes from leading conservatives supportive of criminal justice reform. For example, here's an interesting reframing of an old canard they took from North Carolina Congressman Howard Coble: "I still embrace the theory of locking the cell door if an offender has been convicted of a crime. But I don’t say throw the key away. I say, keep the key handy, so the same key that locked that door can also unlock it.”

Drugs and US Border Policy
MexiData has excellent extended coverage of the recent drug policy conference in El Paso.

More Willingham coverage
The Houston Chronicle called John Bradley's appointment to chair the Forensic Science Commission a "Smoke Screen." The President of The Justice Project has an editorial on the scuttling of the Willingham investigation in the Huffington Post. From DogCanyon, "Forensics Expert Beyler Planned Public Airing; Perry Tried to Kill Agency Funding."

'Building Our Way Out of Crime'?
I'll have more on this when I've had a chance to read the whole document, but DOJ just put out an interesting if lengthy new primer titled "A Policymaker's Guide to Building Our Way Out of Crime" (pdf). I've always thought some of the smartest writing on crime prevention I've ever seen came from folks like Jane Jacobs, the godmother of urban planners, so I'm inclined to sympathize with arguments that development decisions affect crime patterns. I couldn't agree more with this statement, for example: "In a battle metaphor, police can take ground against durable crime but rarely can they alone hold that ground for very long. Developers, however, can physically alter that ground—change a place where crime has persisted and make it highly resistant to crime without necessitating heavy police deployment." But this document goes well beyond suggesting anti-crime features for developments, judging by the introduction, to advocate "the purposeful, formal, strategic linkage of police and community developers," whatever that means. More to come on this one.

The hidden costs of stop-and-frisk
The New York Times has an item on the rise of "stop and frisk" as a proactive tactic to prevent street crime, documenting more than one million such police encounters last year. But there is a hidden opportunity cost to focusing police resources that way:

David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on street stops, said few searches yield weapons or drugs. And the more people are searched, the more innocent people are hassled.

''The hit rate goes down because you're being less selective about how you're doing this. That has a cost. It's not free,'' Harris said.
After my experience being stopped and questioned last year for "babysitting while white," I'll admit to having an instinctive negative reaction to using Terry frisk authority not to reduce risk to officers but merely as an excuse to intrude when it would otherwise not be legally justified. But the SCOTUS court precedents are pretty bad on this, so the best argument against the tactic may not be protecting rights but David Harris' argument: It's just not cost effective.


Anonymous said...

It is silly at best to contribute the decrease in TYC referrals to mental health screenings.

Anonymous said...

Here's my question: If, God forbid, your (assuming) mixed race grandbaby had been abducted by a white male, and the police had not yet gotten the report, and they stopped and questioned and saved that baby from becoming another Jacee, would you be happy?

Yes or No?

Anonymous said...

The code of silence.
The code of silence within the black community that says Blacks will not "snitch" on Blacks who murder other Blacks. This is compounded by liberal leaders will not address the problems of the Black community unless those problems can be blamed on white racism.

PirateFriedman said...

04:37:00, exactly what would be solved if the black community started snitching? Putting more blacks in prison? I don't think you're going to see the significant change you seem to be implying.

But in the meantime, its very heroic that people have the courage not to snitch.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

3:58, we can all come up with if, if, if, if, if and justify anything with hypotheticals. But none of what you said was true and there was no cause to believe it was, so I don't see the point of your speculation.

Soronel Haetir said...

I am trying to read e DOJ report but it unfortunately is not especially friendly to my screen reader. The main thing I am trying to figure out: Are these crime reductions real or have they simply shifted the locus of activity to other neighborhoods? If it is the latter I am not sure it is owrthwhile.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly defines “suspicious behavior” to justify being stopped and searched on the street while running errands or coming to and from work or a social engagement? Looking furtive in an unfamiliar neighborhood? Fretting over something like bills or ill health? The clothing your wearing? The color of your skin?

I am particularly disturbed at the idea of community groups holding training sessions to teach people how to respond to such stop and searches. Perhaps the next step would be to institute classes in the local schools so that our children are trained not only to stop, but assume the position when approached by the police on their way home from school automatically. Have we really come to the point where we need to be trained further to give up our civil rights? Is it acceptable that something as simple as an evening walk should result in being stopped by the police? The whole thing just conjures up images of all those wonderfully dreadful stories we used to hear about “other” countries where people didn't enjoy the rights we do as American citizens and how “lucky” we should feel for being born in the “land of the free”. Funny how we have become more and more just like those places and scary how people like Anon 3:58 can so easily rationalize away our right one after another.

RAS said...

Pirate - courage not to snitch?

Anonymous said...


There's a home for you in Chicago.

PirateFriedman said...

RAS, if I’m playing my music too loud and you have the courage to tell me to turn it down rather than snitching to the police, I admire that behavior.

09:37:00 AM, thanks for the invitation to the windy city. But if you think Chicago has a small police presence, you’re smoking crack.

I don’t think there are a lot of places in America where people consistently and successfully avoid dealing with the police. The Amish might count. And no, they are NOT perfect, they do have antisocial behavior, but I’d take my chances with the Amish rather than in areas with a big police presences like the south side of Dallas or Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Blacks have caused their own problems....poor me, I'm black, give me another free check, while my hood friends stab another black and I go hide it from the cops.

Anonymous said...

If the Negros fail to cooperate with the police, they deserve the crime and failure their race has brought upon themselves. They don't want ot be part of America, but they want all the honey. Why not try Africa if they dislike us so much?

Anonymous said...

"But if you think Chicago has a small police presence, you’re smoking crack."

You really didn't get it, did you Pirate?

PirateFriedman said...

12:41:00 PM, if you have an idea in your head then learn to express it and people will respond to it, and perhaps you'll learn something.

PirateFriedman said...

"If the Negros fail to cooperate with the police, they deserve the crime and failure their race has brought upon themselve"

"Negros" huh, that's very quaint.

Honestly I can understand your aversion to politically correctness. That's why we have the internet, where we can be as offensive as we want to be.

But as long as we're judging races(and why not, its fun) I'd have to say the white race is more of a failure than the black race.

They aren't the one's who stopped having children, that's a problem for white America. So while I'm very proud to have white and Jewish heritage, I would hold my tongue calling any other minority a failure.

Anonymous said...

Pirate.........."exactly what would be solved if the black community started snitching?"

In your world and your analogy, it's ok for the black youths of Chicago to keep killing each other at a record rate and couple that with your notion to speak to you as the offender, rather than snitching you off to the police. And that is exactly what is happening in Chicago and many other placed across our country.

And according to your analogy, the black community of Chicago would have been better served had the four thugs who murdered the black honor student would not have been arrested.

And as you say "putting more blacks in prison." So just where do these murdering four belong? For that matter, where does anyone, white, black, brown, red and yellow, belong who will not or cannot conform to the rules?

So why don't you move to Chicago or any other community in this nation where this problem persists and spread your "no snitching" message?

PirateFriedman said...

10/10/2009 03:34:00 PM, your verbal ability is increasing by the minute. Good to see a well stated argument.

I can tell you this much about the four thugs in Chicago: they committed a crime near a public school, built by the government. And if they aren't sent to prison they will quite possibly fall to a rival gang. I wish the parents of the honor students could put a hit on the responsible parties, but we're not there yet as a society. Vigilante justice does occasionally occur though.

Most blacks who refuse to snitch are doing it because they resent white America, not out of concern for the taxpayer. So what? People can do the right thing for the wrong reason. And thank goodness, it generally is not against the law to not report a crime to the police. (child mollestation is sometimes an exception).

As for your "Prison and Taxes: Love it or Leave It" argument, I already answered that in the last post. But here's a statistic for you: Washington DC spends more per captia on police than any state in the country. So why not go live there if the police are doing such a great job?

Anonymous said...

Pirate........"Most blacks who refuse to snitch are doing it because they resent white America, not out of concern for the taxpayer."

I understand the anger and mistrust SOME, NOT ALL, blacks have of the police. That was not the case in the community I worked for 25 years. Black and people of other races are only killing themselves by offering silent haven to those among us who are killing us. That’s not black love, that’s mass suicide.

Go here and read this. Have a good evening.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit bewildered here.

A young man was beaten to death and that was a tragic waste. But that's not was has me bewildered. I've lived in Chicago most of my half century of existence and with all honesty will say that this is not the first time something like this has happened here, nor will it be the last. I've lived in neighborhoods throughout the city and I've yet to live in one that did not have some type of gang problem, violence or murders. While living in Wicker Park, in a six month period we had a double murder/suicide down the block, a gang shooting in the alley behind the house next door and another gang shooting in broad daylight that involved the van in which the victim was shot in the head in front of a group of small children playing on the corner, slowly making it's way up onto the sidewalk and crashing into the front door of the building in which I lived. Leaving a trail of blood from where the shooting took place.

In the quiet, white, middle class neighborhood of my childhood, we would have occasional gang fights involving the use of baseball bats, lead pipes, knifes and guns in the parking lot of a local restaurant. On one occasion while we were having dinner there. The manager locked the doors, called the police and hoped for the best.

I could go on and on relating incidents both here and in other cities I've lived in and what has me bewildered is with decades of such incidents, why is it only now that we have a Chicago native in the White House that it makes national news and creates such outrage? Decades of such violence and death and suddenly it's become such a big deal. A simple news search for gang murders in any major city in the country will bring up enough reading to keep one busy for days. Chicago isn't perfect, but this crime was not unique to our city. The only thing that was, would have been the national coverage.

Sparkey Greenberg said...

Have you seen the new Documentary: "The Last Word?" It is the the acount of The Death Penalty case of Johnny Frank Garrett of Amarillo, TX?

I have a copy and I am wondering if you have time to view it and then to co host a showing with me.
Thanks for your consideration ahead of time,
Sheva Kuvet

Anonymous said...

That reminds of the movie "The Life of David Gale."

Sparkey Greenberg said...

Perhaps, yet in this one, no one is acting. Todd Willigham is not the First innocent person Texas has put to death, he is the first to be acknowledged as such.

Hook Em Horns said...

Frisk me daddy!!! LOL

Hook Em Horns said...

Does anyone disagree that we are all watching Rick Perry destroy any chance he has of getting re-elected??

Sparkey Greenberg said...

Is there new info or this in regards to his making allot of folks Burning Mad about the Willingham Case?

Anonymous said...

Probably not Boyness from the standpoint he's still going to get a lot of votes, maybe even more than KBH because she has a lot of Washington garbage stored in the closet. The GE could be a different story however.

Voters are like jurors....very unpredictable and sometimes uninformed.

Course dems and repub are alike. They have different labels, but both lie:)

Ryan Paige said...

"Here's my question: If, God forbid, your (assuming) mixed race grandbaby had been abducted by a white male, and the police had not yet gotten the report, and they stopped and questioned and saved that baby from becoming another Jacee, would you be happy?"

What a great question. By this standard, then, every person who is ever anywhere with a child should be stopped by police and forced to prove they have the right to have that kid.

Of course, that might not be enough, either, though. If nobody yet knows that the kid has been kidnapped (as in your question), then the police would have no reason to stop a person from continuing on with that potentially kidnapped child. So, the police should assume that every child has been kidnapped, should arrest every adult who is seen with a child and let the courts sort it out however many months later it takes to get these cases to trial.

Everyone would support that, right?

Hook Em Horns said...

Anonymous said...

Probably not Boyness from the standpoint he's still going to get a lot of votes, maybe even more than KBH because she has a lot of Washington garbage stored in the closet. The GE could be a different story however.

Voters are like jurors....very unpredictable and sometimes uninformed.

Course dems and repub are alike. They have different labels, but both lie:)

10/11/2009 08:39:00 PM

Some food for though from my poli-sci class. Republicans dont want to lose the Governors office. Seeing how they can dominate Texas politics (like it or not) they are likely to throw Perry under the bus if and when they perceive that he cannot win.

Personally, I think that when most Texans look at Perry and what he has done, throwing him out will be "THE" option.

I see Perry as a very dangerous man, therefore, I am asking for a GOP ballot to vote for KBH. I may vote democrat in the fall but getting Perry out is my priority.

ckikerintulia said...

Boyness, I imagine large numbers of Democrats will vote in the GOP primary in order to vote against Perry. I voted in the GOP primary in '04 to help get rid of a particularly irksome DA whose name I will not call. Now I get fund raising letters from RNC. I send the postage free envelope back empty and let them pay for it. I think I will not vote in the GOP primary in '10. While Perry stinks, I don't particularly relish KBH for guv either. Altho if she's elected it would probably pull Texas GOP back a tad from the rad right.

Charles Kiker, Tulia

Sparkey Greenberg said...

What a great idea, sending the RNC back their empty envelopes! Three Cheers for you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Charles...

What is the radical right?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Charles, I once worked for a campaign where, in an apparently coordinated response, opponents who accidentally received fundraising mail with a business reply return card taped the business reply card to a brick or other heavy object and mailed it back, which increases the weight and hence the cost tremendously. It's also a little mortifying to receive a brick in the mail. ;)

Anonymous said...

Is anyone interested in joing in a class action lawsuit if the federal government imposes legislation that mandates that a person have health insurance?

Clearly this is unconstitutional. Since the 1930s, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to invalidate “regulatory” taxes. However, a tax that is so clearly a penalty for failing to comply with requirements otherwise beyond Congress’s constitutional power will present the question whether there are any limits on Congress’s power to regulate individual Americans. The Supreme Court has never accepted such a proposition, and it is unlikely to accept it now, even in an area as important as health care.

Think about, who is the government going to use to enforce this requirement? Are we going to be required to submit proof to the police officer when we get pulled over? Are we going to have to present some sort of proof of insurance when the census taker comes by? Are we going to have submit documentation with our federal income tax report? Are hospital, doctors, etc going to be required to report someone who shows up for medical treatment w/o insurance?

Oh, I forgot, I'm one of those rad rights.

PirateFriedman said...

10/13/2009 10:49:00 AM, I like your idea but the constitution was raped a long time ago. There is no way that Brown vs. the Board of education was constitutional, but they did it anyway. That's how it is.

And then there is another problem. The constitution was a bad idea in the first place, we should have stayed with the Articles of Confederation.

Anonymous said...

Of course black people shouldn't snitch... That way, if a black person is killed in a black neighborhood no one will be punished! That is the way it should be. Why should anyone cooperate with the police?

If a person is killed or robbed in a white neighborhood they will be imprisoned. That’s because stupid white people “snitch” to the police.

No snitching = more dead black folks….

Yeah, you sure are hurting whitey Pirate…..

PirateFriedman said...

"Yeah, you sure are hurting whitey Pirate….."

Hmm... wouldn't want to hurt whitey or blacky or brownie. But if you're a thief or a rapist, I believe in punishment no matter what color you are.

I just don't believe the state should be trusted with this duty. Blacks resent the state for their own reasaons, I oppose the state because it is funded with taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

What are conservatives saying about criminal justice reform?

Apparently everyone is in agreement.

I wonder why it is such a hard fight to actually institute policies that will provide substantive changes?

When my kids were growing up I used to tell them to respect police officers, to believe in the truth and justice of our system. That if you were innocent, our system would prevent them from being convicted.

Now, I try to protect them from the system. I caution them about saying anything to a police officer if stopped, even for a traffic ticket. I teach them not to trust those in the criminal justice system because they are not to be trusted.

I tell them that these people are not here to help you, they are here to put you in jail and they will lie to do it, no matter what the circumstance.

I plan to start earlier with my grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Pirate are you some sort of anarchist?