Monday, August 17, 2009

Recommended Reading

Over the past few weeks I haven't had time to write about these articles, but they are definitely applicable to students of Delinquency and Punishment as we begin the semester.

Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System:

As cash-starved states slash mental health programs in communities and schools, they are increasingly relying on the juvenile corrections system to handle a generation of young offenders with psychiatric disorders. About two-thirds of the nation’s juvenile inmates — who numbered 92,854 in 2006, down from 107,000 in 1999 — have at least one mental illness, according to surveys of youth prisons, and are more in need of therapy than punishment.
Hundreds Hurt in California Prison Riot:
With more than 150,000 inmates, the California prison system is one of the most crowded in the nation, with many of its facilities holding more than double the number of inmates they were designed for. A federal three-judge panel ruled last week that crowding and poor health care caused one avoidable inmate death each week and that the system was “impossible to manage.”
Judges' Dissents For Death Row Inmates Are Rising:
The law that generates much of the judges’ ire is the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Since its passage, the act has been cited in a half-dozen to two dozen dissents a year, often in language forceful enough to rival Judge Fletcher’s. The law, championed by legislators who believed prisoners were abusing the federal appeals process, restricts federal court review of state court decisions in death penalty cases and puts strong limits on the ability of condemned prisoners to file habeas corpus petitions to get their cases reconsidered.
Getting Smart on Crime:
According to a study last year by The Pew Center on the States entitled “One in 100: Behind bars in America 2008,” the prison population of the United States has nearly quadrupled over the last 25 years while the nation’s population has grown by less than a third.

Much of the rise in the prison population was because of draconian mandatory sentencing laws that are illogical — sociologically and economically.

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