Jailing the Mentally Ill: Articles from the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, and a professor at the University of Texas all address the growing problem of the mentally ill in the justice system and reforms that can be implemented to get these people the help that they need. For more information, read the articles from the Texas Justice Blog, "Grits for Breakfast" here:
Read about a new web app that forecasts the reduction in mass incarcerations that would occur with different changes in sentencing. The accompanying article suggests that, although most people and politicians agree that something needs to be done about the overcrowding and overuse of prisons, making significant reductions will take a variety of policy and legal changes. Read about this new app here:
Read my review of Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice by Adam Benforado on Goodreads. This is a fascinating look at the social science underpinnings of some of the mistakes made in the U.S. criminal justice system as well as comparison with some better-functioning models in other western countries.
The story of Kalif Browder, a young man who spent 3 years awaiting trial on Riker's Island for a robbery he insists he did not commit and the tragic outcome for his life: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/kalief-browder-1993-2015
New York Times story about the need to reconsider "life without parole" sentences for crimes committed by adolescents. Recent developments in neuroscience research have pointed to a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex which appears to be developing at puberty. This structure of the brain is particularly important because it acts as the "manager" of the brain and controls planning, prediction of behavioral consequences, control over impulses, and judgment. As the prefrontal cortex matures, adolescents can make better decisions, can anticipate outcomes more accurately, and reason more often can override emotion. This part of the brain has been called "the area of sober second thought." To read the NY Times article, click here.
Since the reduction in long term hospitalization which occurred in the late 1960's, there is an increasingly small number of appropriate settings for violent, mentally ill offenders. With ACT, New York City is trying to keep some of these severely ill patients stable, but, for some, it is still not enough. Read more here.
“The sex trafficking of young girls and women is modern-day slavery,” she declared. “We will do everything in our power to eradicate it.” She is one of the driving forces behind the growing recognition that much of "prostitution" is actually sex-trafficking. To read the NY Times article about Loretta Lynch and her pursuit of sex-traffickers, click here.
New book by Jon Krakauer ("Into Thin Air") focuses on the sexual assaults that take place on campus in Missoula, Montana. "In Missoula, Krakauer chronicles the searing experiences of several women in Missoula — the nights when they were raped; their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the way they were treated by the police, prosecutors, defense attorneys; the public vilification and private anguish; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them."
In "Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's," John Elder Robinson tells the story of growing up a brilliant, yet "defective," child with no diagnosis. He describes in beautiful detail what it was like to be living in a world that spoke a language ("social understanding") that he could not understand and the effects on his development. This is an important book to read for anyone who works with adult clients with Asperger's--one of the only descriptions of this disorder from the inside out.
"Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., is the author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us and the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy. He is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and president of Darkstone Research Group, a forensic research and consulting firm. He has won numerous awards for his research, lectures widely on psychopathy, and consults with law enforcement organizations, including the FBI." Robert Hare is the creator of the "Psychopathy Checklist," a tool for forensic psychologists to determine whether a convicted criminal meets the criteria of psychopathy, and is,therefore, at greater risk of recidivism and may be more dangerous than most criminals.