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Old 04-02-2008, 06:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Another bill to make conservatives go apeshit

Both the Senate and House, on bi-partisan votes, passed the Second Chance Act recently. Its uncertain if Bush will sign it.

The bill provides grants to local governments and non-profits to assist the 650,000 inmates released from prison each year readjust to society by helping them obtain housing, employment, job training and mental health and substance abuse treatment.

At a cost of $2 per American over the next five years, it seems like a reasonable approach and a pretty cheap price to helping ex-cons get back on their feet, which IMO, is in the public's best interest.
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think it makes sense. The idea is often expressed that prison provides a great way for criminals to refine their criminal-ing skills. It seems obvious to me that giving them alternatives to criminal behavior upon their release would help many of them not reoffend, and thus (here's the clincher), increasing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in terms of lowering crime. This isn't to say that it would be 100% effective, but nothing ever is.

Cue fiscal ideology trumping common sense in 3, 2, ...

Last edited by filtherton; 04-02-2008 at 06:54 AM..
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Old 04-02-2008, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This is a horrible, horrible waste of taxpayer money. My money. MY MONEY!!!! *spittle flyin' everywhere*
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm glad I'm not a conservative, because I'm not sure I could handle going apeshit this early in the morning. I like this idea.
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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With a prison population as it is in the U.S., I'm surprised something like this isn't already in place.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedmedia
This is a horrible, horrible waste of taxpayer money. My money. MY MONEY!!!! *spittle flyin' everywhere*
MM spittle?

mmmmmmmm....melts in your mouth



Now if it was conservative male spittle.....ewwwww
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A post on a bipartisan bill, who's effectiveness is unknown but is amazingly low cost at this point at least?

Sounds good on paper, you provided no information on how it plans to do this, so basically this is a troll post.

BTW you like to claim that your bosses are more fiscally responsible, so I look forward to you posting about spending cuts in the near future.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
A post on a bipartisan bill, who's effectiveness is unknown but is amazingly low cost at this point at least?

Sounds good on paper, you provided no information on how it plans to do this, so basically this is a troll post.

BTW you like to claim that your bosses are more fiscally responsible, so I look forward to you posting about spending cuts in the near future.
In response to you (and Baraka's post asking why this hasnt been done in the past).

It has been done successfully in the past but was sunsetted (a common legislative practice) so that it doesnt become a permanent program without the opportunity for periodic review its effectiveness. Republican leaders in the House (not Republican backbenchers) have blocked this version for the last seven years.

Oh..and Democratic members of Congress are not my bosses. Under the best scenario, I (and the voters) am their boss.

But with Republican filibuster threats of appropriation bills in the Senate, and Bush threats of vetoes, the 09 appropriation (spending) bills, based on Bush's record $3.1 trillion budget request, now being debated will not be Democratic bills.

Actually, both the House and Senate passed $3 trillion budget frameworks (used as a guideline for the 13 appropriation bills that actually make up the budget), comparable to Bush's. The difference is that they want to pay for it by proposing an end to Bush's "temporary" 2001-2003 tax cuts for the top 2%....its called pay-as-you-go (paygo), a concept totally foreign to Republicans in the last seven years:
Quote:
Democrats in Congress have passed similar $3 trillion election-year budget plans that promise spending increases for education, defense and other popular programs, but many of President Bush's tax cuts would have to expire in order to pay for them.

The Senate passed its budget early Friday by a 51 to 44 vote. The House passed its plan 212 to 207. A final version will emerge after talks to iron out differences over taxes and other issues.

The three presidential candidates returned to Washington to cast votes on the budget. Republicans backing John McCain hope to take political advantage of votes cast by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton against tax cuts as the heated presidential campaign goes on.
I agree that both parties are big spenders. The difference is Democrats want to pay-as-you-go....with every new spending proposal, they propose an offset (spending less on something else or ending temporary tax cuts)...

...and the Republicans want to just keep spending and pass the cost on to your kids.

Which approach do you think is more fiscally responsible?
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd pay a lot more than $2 for that.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Sounds good on paper, you provided no information on how it plans to do this, so basically this is a troll post.
I guess if anyone is going to recognise a troll post.............

And I like this idea, nice one America, now to see if Dubya signs it.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
I'd pay a lot more than $2 for that.
And of course you'd be willing to make me pay a lot more for that too.

You know considering most of these inmates are directly related to the drug war, why don't we just end that and put a massive check back in everyones pocket. The judicial and prison system cost a ton of taxpayer money.

For the remaining inmates, why dont you just start charity to give to them instead of making me pay too.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
And of course you'd be willing to make me pay a lot more for that too.

You know considering most of these inmates are directly related to the drug war, why don't we just end that and put a massive check back in everyones pocket. The judicial and prison system cost a ton of taxpayer money.

For the remaining inmates, why dont you just start charity to give to them instead of making me pay too[?]
...because as a socialist I find it hilarious when libertarians are required to pay for things that aren't for themselves!
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
...because as a socialist I find it hilarious when libertarians are required to pay for things that aren't for themselves!
You say that like Libertarians aren't charitble. We just think people should be able to pick and choose their charity instead of being forced to do it. Government doesn't have to be the answer to every question.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The government is stepping in here because the free market isn't. Job placement for ex cons is absolutely atrocious. Since the market can't fix this itself, the government has to step in. Like big tobacco.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I suppose I'm, what, a liberal libertarian for liking this bill?
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
The government is stepping in here because the free market isn't. Job placement for ex cons is absolutely atrocious. Since the market can't fix this itself, the government has to step in. Like big tobacco.
Funny how that works isn't it? Those little $2 dollars really start adding up when you calculate in all the programs. Pretty soon you're paying a third of your income to the government. Not much left to go around to help others after that. The market can't even attempt to fix many problems because everyone is hamstrung by over regulation and taxtion.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:52 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samcol
Funny how that works isn't it? Those little $2 dollars really start adding up when you calculate in all the programs. Pretty soon you're paying a third of your income to the government. Not much left to go around to help others after that. The market can't even attempt to fix many problems because everyone is hamstrung by over regulation and taxtion.


Careful, you might fall on that slippery slope.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:54 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Problem is I do not trust the government enough with all of our $2, the amount of jobs and administrative work, and bull shit waste of the money is what upsets me.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:07 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
Careful, you might fall on that slippery slope.
Doesn't mean it's not valid.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Logical fallacies by their very nature are invalid.
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:54 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Seems sane and rational from reading the summary. What's this mean though:

Quote:
Section 103 -
Revises the definition of "violent offender" for purposes of the drug court grant program to include an offender who has been convicted of an offense punishable by a prison term of more than one year. Requires grantees to adopt such revised definition within three years after the enactment of this Act. Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to revise regulations to incorporate the revised definition.
If it means that every drug offender facing a felony is considered a "violent offender" that's BS. Is this trying to skew the statistics of non violent incarcerations?
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Old 04-02-2008, 10:59 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Logical fallacies by their very nature are invalid.
Slippery slope isn't always a fallacy. Increasing bureaucracy that leads to higher taxes would have to reach a point that you couldn't legitimately say the 'free market' has the ability to pay for such programs.

Your saying the free market failed, I'm saying did it even have a chance? Most people I know can't afford to give to charities because they just don't have extra money sitting around. Less taxes would allow people to be more charitable.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:01 AM   #23 (permalink)
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It's an interesting idea and if the money goes truly where it is supposed to, that only leaves one factor to consider, the ex-con. It thus, depends on them.

If the money doesn't go where it should, then we get to see fingers pointed and it becomes a program that will grow demand more funding and fail.

If the ex-cons go back to the life they left, people will eventually say, "we've tried everything... no more." and develp a harsher attitude towards rehabilitation.

The Feds have a similar program for addicts/alcoholics that they are testing in Ohio and several other states. Where I work we are the center of it for our county.

The program is 2 months old, called among other names "Action to recovery".

The addict gets his assessment and a referral to intensive outpatient. The addict then goes over to the Action side, shows his/her referral and gets 2 months rent for a sober house and payment for the treatment with their signature on a contract that states they will stay clean and will by the third month have a job and be able to pay their own rent.

However, should they break that contract they are no longer eligible for any government funding for treatment unless it is life threatening.

A first they just gave clients $1000 check for rent and found too many relapsed on the money.

So then they very fastly went and found halfway houses.

The problem is, landlords weren't ready so some of those rooms or apartments were paid for but weren't ready to live in. I know personally of a client going in to the house, being given a room with a mattress (no box springs) on the floor and would flood when the person up stairs flushed the toilet. He left. He is staying clean on his own and has been keeping in touch with me.

The landlord's in all this get to keep he money. Someone comes in drunk, gets booted, the landlord keeps the 2 months rent AND gets to re-rent that room.

It's getting better, more organized. But what we are seeing is people are still relapsing because it is truly free money. So they are trying to find ways to better the recidivism rates.

There s definitely abuse in this system. It's a great idea, but they need to put more controls on it, especially the landlord side. Right now as I showed, it pays more to have the client fail and be kicked out within the first week.

Also screen the clients better, don't just take anyone, which is what they are doing. Take those serious abut recovery.... but therein lies the problem who is serious and who is looking for free rent for 2 months? How can you tell who is who?

Have these landlords answerable, make them show some form of success rate. But so far they are just looking at the clients and what they can do to get more success out of them.

I hope this program (OP) is better thought out.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:08 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I've been thinking about this a bit. Shouldn't we try to fix the prison systems first, then use all the money we'd save to help the convicts?
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:27 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I have a family member who has a criminal felony conviction on his record. He is currently unemployed, but he had a job at a warehouse few weeks ago. He got fired after his first day. The story is incomplete, but he says one of his co-workers started telling him what to do, and he told that co-worker to go to hell because he wasn't his supervisor. He said the next day that person had him fired because that guy did not like him. The other version we have is that he was on his cell phone most of the night, his girlfriend visited him while he was on the clock, and he left early.

I don't know what happened that resulted in his termination, but I do know this person has had the support and love of his entire family including me. He has had countless opportunities to do "the right thing" and has made choices not to.

I don't support the bill referenced in this thread because I think it will generally be a waste of money. I don't really understand the psychology of the mind of people who choose to engage in criminal activity but it seems to me that the lack of housing, employment, job training and mental health and substance abuse treatment is not the problem.

Here is information that has been in the news lately regarding HS graduation rates. This is not a Washington problem, not a school problem, a teacher problem, but a problem of choice on the part of the student.

Quote:
Fourteen urban school districts have on-time graduation rates lower than 50%; they include Detroit, Baltimore, New York, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Denver and Houston.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/educati...ut-rates_x.htm
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:54 PM   #26 (permalink)
 
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Bush is expected to sign the bll tomorrow...probably because it includes key elements of his Prisoner Reentry Initiative:
Quote:
In his 2004 State of the Union, President Bush proposed “a four-year, $300 million prisoner re-entry initiative to expand job training and placement services, to provide transitional housing, and to help newly released prisoners get mentoring, including from faith-based groups.”

http://www.reentry.gov/
I would have preferred keeping faith based groups out of it, but as long as they dont require sitting through a sermon in order to benefit from the program, it works for me.
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:29 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Legalize weed, free anyone in jail on drug charges, tax pot, spend pot tax on prison rehab. Yaaay. War on drugs = war on empty prisons.
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:31 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedmosaic
Legalize weed, free anyone in jail on drug charges, tax pot, spend pot tax on prison rehab. Yaaay. War on drugs = war on empty prisons.
I'm all for it but is it even possible now? The privatized prison system is a big industry now with what I assume is a powerful lobby. Nonviolent prisoners are, by definition, easier to warehouse than violent ones. It is not in this industries interests to reduce the prison population.
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:14 PM   #29 (permalink)
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One thing that some of you are failing to realize is programs like this may have a net gain in money. If we can prevent a significant percent of criminals from becoming repeat offenders we no longer have to pay for them to be in prison in the future.

Oh yeah and I agree end the drug war, tax the drugs, make lots of money for the government. It's a win win, we make more money and we spend less money.
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:16 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoore
I'm all for it but is it even possible now? The privatized prison system is a big industry now with what I assume is a powerful lobby. Nonviolent prisoners are, by definition, easier to warehouse than violent ones. It is not in this industries interests to reduce the prison population.
Now you're getting it.

Why don't we come up with a way to keep people from having to become criminals in the first place. The people who run the prisons would lose money, we can't let that happen...

And if they did want to pay for this program, it should be done with fines. If you commit a crime, the government should be able to seize some property to auction until they can raise (or you can pay) a set amount. This money could be used to rehabilitate ex-prisoners.
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:40 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedmosaic
Legalize weed, free anyone in jail on drug charges, tax pot, spend pot tax on prison rehab. Yaaay. War on drugs = war on empty prisons.
I agree with this. I was just talking with my mom about it the other day. The monetary impact of this bill would be near inconsequential if we would end the illusory and wasteful 'war on drugs.'
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:53 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Gad yes. Massive waste of public money chasing down weed, and massive waste of the lives of people who get prosecuted for it.

Chasing down weed is almost as stupid as the states that outlaw "marital aid devices."
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:13 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loquitur
Chasing down weed is almost as stupid as the states that outlaw "marital aid devices."
Sounds sexy.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:34 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Will, you have no idea. The things some state legislators think are worth passing laws about are just plain mind-boggling.

here is the operative language of the Alabama statute, in case you are interested: Alabama Code § 13A-12-200.2 (a)(1) (1975) (Supp.2001) makes it "unlawful for any person to knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute ... any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for any thing of pecuniary value." So legally this all might turn on how it's marketed. <rolling eyes>
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:44 PM   #35 (permalink)
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So no "fleshlights" and vibrators? And yet Alabama is known for incest.

Go figure.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:49 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Maybe the incest is due to the fact that fleshlights and vibrators are illegal so the residents have to resort to other stuff that's close at hand?
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:14 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:15 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekna
One thing that some of you are failing to realize is programs like this may have a net gain in money. If we can prevent a significant percent of criminals from becoming repeat offenders we no longer have to pay for them to be in prison in the future.
Yea and pigs might fly.

I see it as something that may help those who are already trying to make their lives better again, I doubt it will have any effect on recidivism.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:52 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Depending on how the inmates are qualified for the program and how their performance and spending is managed, I believe a measure like this could mean the difference between success and failure for many borderline potential recidivism cases.

I'm not clear on the criteria regarding who will get this assistance, but I'm all for a very strictly managed program with significant consequences for abuses or violations.

I mentioned in another thread that I am a frequent substitute teacher in our local public school system. My specialty is in mental and behavioral education services, and work extensively with the juvenile justice system. I am transitioning as full time later this year. I assume the bill is aimed at adult criminals, but the successes I witness are those who can turn themselves around within the system and are able to shun their external destructive influences. Without assistance, the borderline folks that struggle to make it often fail because they have no support at home and revert to criminal activity for financial and social (gangs, peer pressure) reasons. The hardcore habitual offenders should not be considered, but that's just my jaded point of view.

I hope the measure isn't a broad-stroke approach, but a very serious attempt at rehabilitation and accountability, and not another huge waste of money.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:58 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Why aren't we spending this money teaching children empathy, emotion management, cooperation, and conflict resolution? Why not strike at the roots of criminality instead of, again, just responding to people that have already been failed and have failed?
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