December 4th Summary

Gone for the holidays, my apologies. Keep in mind these are up to date as of the 4th, likely missed some things over the last week.

Michigan Live- Welfare drug testing pilot program approved by Michigan House– Really quite regrettable, any arguments mustered in opposition to welfare benefits to people who use drugs surely must concede that current data sources still mean this will be a decision that ultimately costs more money, potentially affecting services for using and sober clients alike.

Prison Policy Initiative- Tracking State Prison Growth in 50 States– There’s no short-edge of these graphs on the internet today, but I am especially fond of these as it shows variation between states, regions, rates of incarceration and totals (presumably steady state totals) as well as county jails, state and federal prisons. So, in many ways this is the most cogent visualization of growth of incarceration in the U.S, least that I have seen.

Prison Culture- Send White People to Jail: Protest in the Era of Black (Mass) Incarceration– Not sure I follow the entire article, worthy of a closer read no doubt.

Talk Poverty- Mass Incarceration and the Health of Our Communities– It’s not uncommon to hear people arguing for a public health approach to substance abuse (and thus, often by implication drug crimes) and sometimes even to other crimes. This article offers some more tangible exploration of this idea, with opportunities under the ACA.

Portland Press Herald Op Ed- Criminal court judge: We don’t ‘mass incarcerate’ select groups– Despite the title, which to me seems to be clearly targeting critics of mass incarceration, specifically the abhorrently disproportional rate of incarceration among black men; the article actually vears off to most strongly criticize calls for eliminating life sentences for violent crimes, which a priori, the author is correct, would not make a huge dent in incarceration rates or totals. Still, not sure I agree with it, but once again an antithetical read is not a bad thing on principle.

Truthout- Justice Department Takes Steps to Reform Grant Program Incentives– Interesting, I’d like to hear more thoughts on this from inside DOJ workers. I’m no stranger to ambitious, laudable goals translated into  failed attempts at revising grant criteria.

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