“Stop Helicopter-Parenting Other People’s Kids”: Michael Brendan Dougherty

yeah: It's an odd way to "help" a child who is unsupervised for five minutes to potentially inflict years of stress, hours of court appearances, and potential legal fees and fines on their parents. Children who experience discreet instances of suboptimal parenting aren't always aided by threatening their parents with stiff, potentially family-jeopardizing legal penalties. The risk of five or even 10 minutes in a temperate, locked car while mom shops is still a lot better than years in group … [Read more...]

Increasing Empathy Is a Really Weird Reason for Public Humiliation

But drugs have a funny effect on the brain, I guess: ...It was the second such heroin sweep where authorities sought to publicize the names, hometowns, ages and photos of alleged buyers and distributors. Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said that tactic would help further educate the public.“We are working toward eliminating the notion that a heroin addict is a person that is in an alley with a needle sticking in their arm,” Valdes said. “We are so removed from that.” more (and a … [Read more...]

Our Initial Goal Is Voluntary Compliance

Middle school edition! After Michael and Melinda May's daughter was drug-tested five times in three years at Susquenita Middle School, they refused to sign a permission slip allowing it to happen again.Leila May was drug-tested once during her fifth grade year, once in sixth grade and three times as a seventh grader because Susquenita School District randomly tests students in grades five through 12 who participate in extracurricular activities and apply for parking permits.Without the … [Read more...]

“10 Photography Projects on Prisons… Recently Added to the Web”

Via PrisonCulture: ...Mae Ryan‘s series on the Community Prisoner Mother Program in Pomona, California was one of the last assignment’s she made before moving from KPCC to The Guardian. And it is stand out.Pregnant in Prison offers a look at a select group of minimum security prisoners who may live with their young children until the child turns seven years old. Mothers live with their children in rooms shared with other prisoners. During the day, children are enrolled in the on-site prescho … [Read more...]

“The Criminalization of Poverty”: Radley Balko

writes: ...NPR found that in the vast majority of America, defendants can be charged for a public defender, for their own parole and probation, the cost of a jury trial, and their stay in a jail cell. Some jurisdictions have even found ways to charge people “booking fees” after an arrest, even if the arrest never results in a criminal charge, a policy recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. My favorite example of this nonsense, though it isn’t in the NPR report, is … [Read more...]

“Way Too Early to Declare Victory in War Against Mass Incarceration”

from the Brennan Center, possibly via Radley Balko or PrisonCulture: It is far too early, as a matter of law, of policy, and of fact, to be talking about a “plummeting” prison rate in the United States or to be declaring that the end is in sight in the war to change the nation’s disastrous incarceration policies. There is still far too much to do, far too many onerous laws and policies to change, too many hearts and minds to reform, too many families that would have to be reunited, before anyon … [Read more...]

“A Stillborn Child Leads to a Murder Charge”: Me at AmCon

on an awful, years-long case: In 2006, 15-year-old Rennie Gibbs became pregnant. She tested positive for marijuana and cocaine during her pregnancy. Her daughter Samiya was born a month premature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. An autopsy on the child found traces of a cocaine byproduct, and Rennie was charged with murder—or rather, with what Mississippi calls “depraved heart murder,” signifying an especially callous crime. Gibbs’s case has wound its way through the legal syste … [Read more...]


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