Thursday, February 11, 2010

Here and There: Briefs

Here are a few notable criminal justice stories I'd blog about individually if I had more time:

Judge: Costs for immigration prosecutions 'neither meritorious nor reasonable'
Austin District Judge Sam Sparks last week questioned the wisdom of spending money to incarcerate otherwise harmless immigrants over "illegal reentry," declaring that the practice "presents a cost to the American taxpayer ... that is neither meritorious nor reasonable." "He ordered prosecutors to be prepared to state the reasons for prosecuting such cases," reported the Statesman. Doc Berman helpfully provides a link to the order. Robbie Cooper at Urban Grounds was horrified by the development, and I reacted to his complaints in the comments at his blog.

El Paso cartel snitch at center of NPR informant feature
NPR today begins a three-part series on confidential informants with the story of a notorious case out of El Paso where a DEA snitch allegedly orchestrated multiple cartel murders.

The changing geography of Mexican violence
Speaking of Mexican cartels, Pete Guither at Drug War Rant recently pointed out that we're seeing a lot of competing messages in the media about violence in Mexico. Here are a couple of interesting-looking public policy reports from the Justice in Mexico Project out of UC San Diego that I've yet to read, one on Drug Violence in Mexico (pdf) and one on Police and Public Security in Mexico (pdf). OTOH, this week a notable media report appeared announcing that Mexico's overall murder rate has actually declined compared to a decade ago. That's because, even though drug-related killings escalated, battles between campesinos and landowners in the southern part of the country largely subsided thanks to the effectiveness of intimidation tactics and the rapid, recent urbanization of former agricultural workers. What's more, "Mexico City's homicide rate today is about on par with Los Angeles and is less than a third of that for Washington, D.C.." See an excellent "heat map" showing which parts of Mexico have the highest rates of drug violence.

Staffing, health, budgets up for discussion at TBCJ
I'm headed later today to a brief TDCJ board meeting (conveniently being held about a mile from my house), to hear the public presentations, hoping in particular to gain any hints about what the agency might suggest in response to demands by state leaders for 5% budget cuts. Also, executive director Brad Livingston will report to the board on correctional officer staffing and prison health issues. See the full agenda (pdf).

Punishment, Culture and Society podcasts
I've now listened to a couple of podcasts from Jonathan Simon's lectures at UC Berkeley in a class titled, Punishment, Culture and Society, found via the blog, California Corrections Crisis, to which he contributes. Simon studied with Michel Foucault, it turns out, though I wouldn't have guessed it from his writings (which seem to more strongly exhibit other influences). I love it when university profs put their lectures online, I've run across a lot of interesting material that way over the years.


ckikerintulia said...

It would be interesting to see a heat map of the US adjacent to the one of Mexico.

Anonymous said...

It's Jonathan Simon - not Jonathon. Using your practice, I guess that means you don't know what you are talking about.

You might want to rethink your assertion that a typo or misspelled word means that someone doesn't know what they are talking about.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't think I've ever said as much, 3:10 - perhaps you can supply us your referent? However I did correct Simon's name in the post.

outlawprincess said...

you are griping because of a mis-spellin ?????

mario said...

Briiefs? ehe.. this is more interesting than expected.