Hey jerks, the average annual cost per inmate in New York City was $167,731 last year.
Not only is that more expensive than a Harvard education, that number is for each of the nearly 12,287 accused detained on any given day, dwarfing the cost of California’s daily bill. Oh sure, that covers operational costs, staff, benefits, pensions, law suits, etc. Meanwhile, another rather large chuck of money goes out another window. A navy blue school bus sized tinted window:
The department [DOC] says it spends $30.3 million annually alone on transportation costs, running three bus services that usher inmates to and from court throughout the five boroughs, staff from a central parking lot to Rikers jails and visitors to and around the island. via
Anyone care enough to figure that one out? Oh, former corrections commissioner Martin Horn did. He suggested that we could just put smaller jails/detainment centers next to the courts, save a ton, but no one really cares to that absurd degree, do they? To have accused and small time offenders escorted by correction officers, from a jail to the court near by. We inform ourselves just enough to complain with a nervous side eye to how the “bad part” is creeping closer to our love seat while being evidently content blaming a collection of bureaucratic agencies who’s long running track record with communication and math, mixed with an impossible to navigate, archaic intake/processing system, can suggests not much more than a strong achievement in spanking us giddy then patting us on the head. But why turn over, this rock doesn’t seem to bother my back at all anymore.
Rather than looking at drug addiction as a scientific and medical phenomenon, many still cast the issue in moral terms. It is perhaps not surprising that the criminal justice system has generally used retributive justice to deal with addicts, much like it traditionally did the mentally ill. The retributive stance generally extols “just deserts” and diminishes rehabilitative attempts, even when rehabilitation is guided firmly by physiological understandings of the underlying pathologies.
A paper from my lab director. You’d be amazed at the millions of points of drug crime data we have so far…some make sense…some counterintuitive…which is why it’s imperative to get this out to policy makers. Today, a high court admin reached out to me excited to see our results since they are 9 million dollars over budget. It all ties in.
Neuroscientific evidence is increasingly being offered in court cases. Consequently, the legal system needs neuroscientists to act as expert witnesses who can explain the limitations and interpretations of neuroscientific findings so that judges and jurors can make informed and appropriate inferences. The growing role of neuroscientists in court means that neuroscientists should be aware of important differences between the scientific and legal fields, and, especially, how scientific facts can be easily misunderstood by non-scientists, including judges and jurors.
Like sands through the hourglass — back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with the swing/swing door of the forensic psychology & law merge of linguistics, educating lawyers on psychological concepts and psychologists on legalese then translating expert witnesses to the jury — so are the days of our lives.
So, science, when you exclaim that you feel the love but not the money, well, now you know what love was worth. That’s pricing data for you.
So you think you love science, do you?
What does that mean to you, exactly?
For most people, I’m guessing it means something like this:
Or perhaps something like this:
That’s not what science is, though.
To John Skylar, we need to talk. To everyone else who “likes” like pretty pictures of what we do, you need to read this.
This article examines and refutes the claims that neuroscientific evidence renders autonomy “quixotic” and thus supports a shift toward paternalism in medical and political decision-making. The author argues that the notion of autonomy has been mistakenly associated with the metaphysical concept of free will, and offers a political definition of autonomy to clarify how responsibility is implicitly grounded in the legal and political system: An agent acts autonomously when she/he (a) endorses decisions and acts in accord with internal motivational states, (b) shows commitment to them in the absence of undue coercion and compulsion, and (c) could as a reasonable and rational person continue to do so after a period of informed critical reflection. The author further argues that neuroscientific findings confirm the assumption that humans are fundamentally fallible social creatures and explain the mechanisms of openness to the social world, which can be and sometimes are abused. A naturalistic framework does not dispute autonomy or rights, but it does point toward means of manipulation and toward areas in which further legal protection of rights and autonomous choice is needed. The author concludes by clarifying the ideal-typical degrees of coercion (indirect, direct and total) and compulsion (mild, severe and total) that serve the purpose of qualifying reduction of autonomy and responsibility in certain cases, and elaborating the middle-ground position between the “moral” and “brain disease” model of addiction.
We all agree glamdouchery harms science, right?
In a single generation, a “Letter to Nature” has gone from being where you sent one cool result you wanted published fast to where you fought for months (or years) to publish five years of work in Supplemental Figures 1-17, all for some delusional, careerist notion of quality or importance. What the fuck happened?
We seemed to have done a decent job of convincing society that psychological science is important, but this has only increased the demand for us to show how what we have discovered can be used outside the laboratory to help improve lives. Although most of us have this goal in the abstract, at times we also need to be more concrete.
For example, economists routinely inform public policy in ways psychological scientists have not, even though our insights may be equally, or even more, valuable.
Looking Beyond the Neuro Revolution in Psychological Science - By NYU’s Elizabeth A. Phelps, H/T @vaughnbell
If she’s not saying the next big thing is for scientists to inform public policy, then I will.
The American prison and jail systems don’t work toward rehabilitation. They are strictly there for confinement. There is nothing that takes place during your confinement that will make it more feasible for you to change your life. And folks are truly sometimes dumped on the street. Sometimes they go into halfway houses, and some halfway houses are pretty horrible themselves, as is seen in recent coverage of them in New Jersey. The way they are run is generally terrible.
The last time I posted one of her interviews (NYT, I think?) I wasn’t entirely pleased with her baton twirling. I told her good luck getting minds changed with out mentioning more recidivism and economic related stats since she was advocating alternative sentencing options. But I see what she’s doing now. If her celebrity influence can get the general social climate (voters) to warm up to the reality of what unintended punishments inmates experience and the long term effects actually entail, in addition to the assigned punishment, then sociopolitical pressures surrounding increasing the harshness of penalties may not have such an easy time flying though legislature - when we have no proof that they are effective (yet). I maintain a social worker speech still needs evidence based research to support it but, she’s starting a small (but important) step and I’ll welcome it.
The fact is we don’t understand them and we don’t particularly care to.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper commenting on sex offenders.
If only we all were so fortunate to live in a medieval fantasy land where a double fisted attitude like that would allow us to ban wrongdoers from living inside our precious & sin-free (wait we can do that) communities (
and who knows sex offenses better than a politician)… where convincing emotional, scared and uninformed people that some monsters can’t be understood-ever, and they aren’t worth the time or resources that may reduce the likelihood of more victims, all while reinforcing our position and keep money (needed elsewhere) turning in frivolous circles…then why didn’t you say so? I wouldn’t be so interested to produce evidence based research to inform policy makers -and instead, I pull out my dictator sunglasses and proclaim myself too complicated & scare my way into a job at the local off-off broadway theater. Too bad Dr. Kevin Shiffman foiled our plans of gluttonous apathy:
To glibly dismiss any attempt at research and achieving greater understanding and insight reflects a bigoted, narrow-minded and thoughtless approach to this complex problem. [via]