“‘Force is the Best Medicine’: How America Overdosed on Drug Courts”

by Maia Szalavitz:...If doctors were to deviate this far from the standard of care in treating patients, they would face malpractice judgments and, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. But drug court judges face no such accountability, even though they generally acknowledge that addiction is a disease and make final decisions on which treatments are permitted. “A judge’s decisions cannot be mucked about with unless they’re illegal or a total abuse of discretion,” says Peggy Hora, a retired … [Read more...]

Lullabies from Prison and Other Links

Let's start with this."Bringing Mothers in Prison Closer to Their Children, Through Music": Mothers in prison rarely get to see their children, let alone touch them or sing them a lullaby. But female inmates in New York City are getting a little help with the singing, thanks to Carnegie Hall. For the last few years, Carnegie has sponsored the Lullaby Project, which pairs professional musicians with women in jails, homeless shelters and city hospitals, to help them write lullabies for their … [Read more...]

When Inmates Write the History of Their Own Prison: Slate

reports: Recently, a group of women currently incarcerated at the 142-year-old institution (now called the Indiana Women’s Prison) began to pore over documents from the prison’s first 10 years. They had set out on an ambitious project: to write a history of the institution’s founding decade, one that tells quite a different story from the official narrative. What happens when inmates write a history of their own prison? In this case, the perspective that the group brought to the project took wha … [Read more...]

A Criminal Justice System: Link Round-Up

Depending on how you've calibrated your expectations, some of these might be construed as hopeful!Others not so much.1. "Fourteen Years After Decriminalizing All Drugs, Here's What Portugal Looks Like":In 2001, the Portuguese government did something that the United States would find entirely alien. After many years of waging a fierce war on drugs, it decided to flip its strategy entirely: It decriminalized them all. If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply … [Read more...]

Voices from the Fire: Medieval Jewish Martyr Laments

Part of my Lenten reading was Susan L. Einbinder's Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. It's a very readable adapted thesis which makes a few arguments--for example, that Jewish martyr laments shifted over time from proclaiming God's covenant with the community, to depicting individual transformation of the martyrs; that the laments shift from emphasizing demographic diversity to exalting scholars as a sort of martyr elite; and that the laments show the degree to … [Read more...]

“Governance Feminism” and Sexual Assault on Campuses

this bit leapt out at me but whole thing is worth reading--if I had to give it an extremely reductive summary it might be, "Sex isn't rational, and power is a temptation, not a tool"--see also btw the section on race: Increasingly, schools are being required to institutionalize prevention, to control the risk of harm, and to take regulatory action to protect the environment. Academic administrators are welcoming these incentives, which harmonize with their risk-averse, compliance-driven, and … [Read more...]

“Inside the Seminary”: Disturbing report

in Commonweal:...From 2008 through 2010, I was a seminarian in St. Paul, Minneapolis, an archdiocese now entrenched in its own abuse scandal. My experience there led me to believe that the problem of priestly sexual abuse is due, at least in part, to the failure of seminaries to provide adequate human and sexual formation to men studying for the priesthood. More specifically, my seminary formation failed to confront the questions surrounding sexual abuse in a candid and psychologically … [Read more...]


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