News Roundup

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Even leaving aside the saga at the Board of Elections, there have been too many interesting news stories lately to ignore.

1. The News and Observe has this story about inmates seeking release in connection with the Bowden case. (You can read previous posts about Bowden here and here.)

2. The paper’s also running a story about the sex-offenders-in-church controversy, in connection with a case in Chatham County. Check it out here.

3. UCLA Public Policy professor Mark Kleiman has just released a book called When Brute Force Fails, the gist of which seems to be that smarter policing strategies and alternatives to incarceration can reduce crime and the costs of crime control. You can read some blog posts he wrote based on the book at the Volokh Conspiracy; a good place to start is here. But the news I want to highlight isn’t acually about the book, which my colleague Jamie Markham may review later. Instead, it’s about one of the examples Kleiman uses — a pretty interesting effort to close down open-air drug markets in High Point. Apparently, community leaders, police, and state and federal proecutors worked together to identify and build cases against several leading drug dealers — but, instead of arresting them, the authorties brought them in for a come-to-Jesus meeting at which the drug dealers were give a choice: knock it off, or go to prison. According to this news story, the strategy worked to shut down the drug markets and improve the neighborhood. Pretty interesting, but I wonder whether the results of the “High Point low-arrest drug crackdown” have stood the test of time. Any High Point folks care to comment?

4. This British news story says that a California man, already serving a long sentence for one murder, is actively seeking to be sentenced to death in connection with a second murder, because he believes that the conditions of confinement on Death Row will be better than the conditions in general population. (Hat tip: Crime and Consequences.)

5. The Washington Post has jumped into the debate about whether federal law should provide for equal punishment for crack offenses and powder cocaine crimes. This contrarian editorial argues that it should not, though the wind seems to be blowing the other way these days.

6. I’m traveling today, which means I read the USA Today in the hotel lobby this morning. It had a fascinating story about a prisoner rodeo at the (in?)famous Angola prison in Louisiana.

One comment on “News Roundup

  1. Reference the High Point alternative project. It was attempted in Winston-Salem about 3 years ago with 18 test cases. They all were failures. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner but I wanted to get with someone who worked on the project at the time to confirm the outcome. Basically, it had some effect short term, but it always fell apart with the subject in question falling back into the drug trade.

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