Criminology and Economic Theory
16.6K views | +5 today
Scooped by Rob Duke
onto Criminology and Economic Theory!

More than 1000 officers execute Canada-wide drug raids as police arrest 103 ... - National Post

More than 1000 officers execute Canada-wide drug raids as police arrest 103 ... - National Post | Criminology and Economic Theory |
National PostMore than 1000 officers execute Canada-wide drug raids as police arrest 103 ...National PostMONTREAL — One thousand police officers conducted raids in different Canadian cities against an alleged consortium of organized crime that had...
No comment yet.
Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Philippines President Makes Good on Pledge to Mass Murder People Who Use or Sell Drugs, Calls for "No Mercy" in State of the Nation Address | Drug Policy Alliance

Philippines President Makes Good on Pledge to Mass Murder People Who Use or Sell Drugs, Calls for "No Mercy" in State of the Nation Address | Drug Policy Alliance | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Rob Duke's insight:
Felipe Calderon did this when he was elected President of Mexico in 2006.  I had just visited the West Coast all the way down to Acapulco and it was safe and pleasant.  Today, I wouldn't trust going there.  In 10 years, drug policy has turned the country into a drug cartel occupied country.  My guess is that the Philippines will have a similar result.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Are Men Inherently More Criminal Than Women?

Are Men Inherently More Criminal Than Women? | Criminology and Economic Theory |
How much money would it take to get you to steal a piece of candy? $10? $50? $200? How about to steal a car? Or how about this—how much would it take for you to kill someone? Is there any amount of money that would justify taking someone’s life?

Turns out your answer to these questions may vary widely depending on one factor: Your gender. A new survey found that men are much more willing to commit crimes—and for much lower sums of money—than women.

This information was taken from a survey fielded by Get Safe, a company specializing in home security, which asked 2,000 Americans (53% male and 47% female) a series of hypothetical questions using Survey Monkey to gauge how far they’d be willing to stretch their moral compass—and just how much money it would cost to get them to do it. The results were unsettling.

The survey found that 80% of respondents would steal a piece of candy for money. Not too bad—it’s just candy, right? Well, 71.8% said they’d be willing to punch someone in the face for money, which feels a bit more unsettling. More than 55% of respondents said they would steal a car for cash, and scariest of all, 40.6% said they would be willing to kill someone if the pay was high enough. Whaaa? Granted, most respondents said it would take millions of dollars to add murder to their resume—but the point is that there appears to be a line, and many Americans say they’re willing to cross it.
Kevin Lawson's comment, July 24, 7:37 PM
It’s reassuring that both the number of willing participants and the price for committing a crime scaled directly with the severity. This is great evidence for deterrence theory as there is a much greater risk associated with stealing a car or murder as opposed to vandalism. One thing to consider is that some of the statistics for comparison in this article are based on reported crime. While this is the only certain data, and the reason why it’s included in the Uniform Crime Report, we must consider unreported crimes as well. A survey of unreported crimes may be helpful for further analysis. I remember reading in a similar gender examination article recently about the numbers of women psychopaths vs male psychopaths. The message is that women are just as likely to manifest psychopathic tendencies, but in different ways than men. So, while the examples in this survey list crimes that men are more likely to commit, I wonder if there are other crimes that could be surveyed that women would be more likely to commit.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Making It Easier for Former Inmates to Work in L.A.

Making It Easier for Former Inmates to Work in L.A. | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The city plans to prohibit some employers from asking job applicants about their criminal record.
Kim Gomez's comment, July 24, 3:45 PM
I foresee this going either way, very bad or very good. It certainly increases the risk on the employers end because they may be hiring someone with multiple theft convictions and putting their financial well being in jeopardy, but then again it may very well be giving these offenders a chance at redemption. Some offenders truly do want to live their life after being released and have zero intention of re-offending and this gives them ample opportunity to contribute to society. It will be interesting to see which way this will go.
Lydia Weiss's comment, July 24, 4:52 PM
I can see this being both really good and really bad. It can be bad if the convict was caught for assault, or theft, something that can either affect the company or coworkers. However, let's focus on the good. It can be extremely difficult for people to be re-integrated into society for a variety of reasons post incarceration, one of which is that not many places will hire an ex-convict. This can give them more opportunities to better themselves.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Expensive Cigarettes No Longer Keep Teenagers From Smoking

Expensive Cigarettes No Longer Keep Teenagers From Smoking | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Fewer American teens smoke cigarettes today than 20 years ago. And taxes on cigarettes are much higher, too. For a while, these two trends were related, because…
Rob Duke's insight:
Exactly as Nobel Laureate Economist, Gary Becker, predicted.  Whenever you criminalize something, it activates a whole host of incentives to sneak, but there's also a social benefit for adolescents to be "bad" within their own subculture.  While the taxation portion of this policy isn't unwise, it's a false dichotomy to say that it's alright to tax the heck out of cigarettes for adults, but we must prohibit kids from smoking because they'll make bad choices--this is literally like putting a candy dish at the end of a tight rope--if someone really wants the candy, the tight rope won't stop them.  There's no reason we can't treat teens and adults the same on cigs--existing "sin" taxes with public information (but without the criminalization that makes cigs so attractive).
Lydia Weiss's comment, July 24, 4:58 PM
The way the title was worded made me initially think that more and more teenagers were smoking, possibly because they had the money due to jobs. Thankfully, the article proved me wrong, stating that they smoke less than they used to, it's just the die hards who still smoke regardless of the taxes.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

High water mark: active marijuana ingredient found in U.S. town well

High water mark: active marijuana ingredient found in U.S. town well | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Residents of a small farming community in eastern Colorado have been warned to avoid drinking the town’s water after THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, was found in one of its feeder wells, authorities said on Thursday.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Classmates gather at Hutchison to grieve teens killed in crash

Classmates gather at Hutchison to grieve teens killed in crash | Criminology and Economic Theory |
FAIRBANKS — A large crowd of teens ignored a steady rain Wednesday night when they circled a giant boulder on the front lawn of Hutchison High School.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Too much information

Too much information | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Based on a long-standing correspondence with Gerald Foos, the self-declared “World’s Greatest Voyeur”, Mr Talese tells the story of his subject’s life as owner of Manor House Motel in Colorado for nearly 30 years. Mr Foos fitted his property with an “observation platform” in the attic, complete with fake ventilator grates, enabling him to spy on his guests (often accompanied by his wife) undetected for around three decades. His interest was both sexual and “scientific”: Mr Foos would take meticulous notes as he observed the sex lives of couples in the rooms beneath him, from the suburban mother stealing lusty trysts with a doctor in his lunch hour, to the married couple and the young stud employed in their vacuum-cleaner company, to the Miss America candidate from Oakland who spent two weeks in the motel and never had sex with her husband. Mr Foos would often then masturbate, or have sex with his wife.

“The Voyeur’s Motel” is a strange composite. It has, in effect, two authors with distinct agendas. Mr Talese is interested in voyeurism and its moral implications. Mr Foos, who first confided in Mr Talese in 1980 and over three decades later gave the writer permission to go public with his story, believes himself to be a “pioneering sex researcher”. He explicitly places his journal and statistical records in the tradition of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, themselves pioneering sexologists. Mr Foos considers himself to have performed three decades of public service, and now seeks recognition.

Shortly before publication, the Washington Post found that Mr Foos had not owned the motel for the whole period he claimed to have had access to it. Mr Talese seemed to disavow the book, then to disavow his disavowal (probably under pressure from his publishers). If the primary value of “The Voyeur’s Motel” lies in its veracity, or, as Mr Foos might like, as a sexual history of post-war America, this flip-flopping might render it worthless. In fact, it adds a layer of intrigue. The problem for the reader, though, is that this is an exercise in exhibitionism as much as a study of voyeurism. Even if Mr Foos’s tale is broadly reliable, it is unsettling that he has been given a platform.
Rob Duke's insight:
You can't make this stuff up....
Lydia Weiss's comment, July 19, 11:28 PM
While I can somewhat see this from a scientific point of view and how he might not want his "research" "spoiled" by people knowing they were being watched, HE DID NOT HAVE THEIR CONSENT! The lack of consent makes this completely not okay, and while I'm sure he made some... interesting... research, I can't see why he'd want to be known for being one hell of a peeping tom for thirty years. Jeex.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

The interesting thing that happened when Kansas cut taxes and California hiked them

The interesting thing that happened when Kansas cut taxes and California hiked them | Criminology and Economic Theory |
In 2012 California raised taxes, while Kansas lowered them. This is what happened.
Rob Duke's insight:
This economic theory was introduced by the late Pepperdine professor, George Laffer, and was known as voodoo economics during the Reagan years.  Generally, Laffer predicted a backward trending curve where lower taxes created a decrease in tax funding, but as the economy responded and grew, the actual level of taxes would increase.  The only problem?  It didn't actually occur....This example isn't exactly the best demonstration, however, as Kansas is a landlocked agrarian state with no major industries or ports.  The Kansas (and other similar economies) has been resetting, or adjusting, for some time and that is likely to continue.

The best tax policies are balanced.  We try to have services paid for by the people who use them, therefore, taxes should be levied close to the communities.  When we have market failures, such as that for poor communities and their schools, then we use pooling and sharing schemes such that all property tax is pooled and then divided back to communities evenly.  We also watch closely to see where the "incidence" of the tax lies, in other words: "who actually ends up paying?"  In the case of a property tax, it's petty easy to figure that out, same with a value added tax (VAT), but it's more difficult with taxes such as gas taxes, tariffs, etc. that can be "hidden" into a consumer's pricetag somewhere far down the line from the fatcat we intended to tax.

A good tax system and good planning result in a good jobs/housing mix and that is the foundation for a safe and healthy community.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Shedding light on the dark web

Shedding light on the dark web | Criminology and Economic Theory |

LEAVING vacuum-sealed bags, digital scales and stashes of marijuana lying around was a mistake. So was getting T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with “Cali Connect”, under which name drugs were dealt online. Selling pot to an undercover officer was a further slip-up. All this is part of the prosecution evidence in an ongoing case against David Burchard in California. But the crucial piece of evidence, according to the police who arrested him in March, was that he had trademarked Cali Connect to protect his brand.

Mr Burchard is awaiting trial; the charges against him may be demolished in court. But even if the police officers’ story does not hold up, in its outline it is typical of recent developments in the drug trade. Though online markets still account for a small share of illicit drug sales, they are growing fast—and changing drug-dealing as they grow. Sellers are competing on price and quality, and seeking to build reputable brands. Turnover has risen from an estimated $15m-17m in 2012 to $150m-180m in 2015. And the share of American drug-takers who have got high with the help of a website jumped from 8% in 2014 to 15% this year, according to the Global Drug Survey, an online study.

Online drug markets are part of the “dark web”: sites only accessible through browsers such as Tor, which route communications via several computers and layers of encryption, making them almost impossible for law enforcement to track. Buyers and sellers make contact using e-mail providers such as Sigaint, a secure dark-web service, and encryption software such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). They settle up in bitcoin, a digital currency that can be exchanged for the old-fashioned sort and that offers near-anonymity during a deal.

Almost all sales are via “cryptomarkets”: dark websites that act as shop-fronts. These provide an escrow service, holding payments until customers agree to the bitcoin being released. Feedback systems like those on legitimate sites such as Amazon and eBay allow buyers to rate their purchases and to leave comments, helping other customers to choose a trustworthy supplier. The administrators take a 5-10% cut of each sale and set broad policy (for example, whether to allow the sale of guns). They pay moderators in bitcoin to run customer forums and handle complaints.

Once a deal is struck and payment is waiting in escrow, drugs are packed in a vacuum-sealed bag using latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints or traces of DNA, and dipped in bleach as a further precaution against leaving forensic traces. A label is printed (customs officials are suspicious of handwritten addresses on international packages). Smart sellers use several post offices, all far from their homes—and, preferably, not overlooked by CCTV cameras. Some offer to send empty packages to new customers, so they can check for signs of inspection. Smart buyers use the address of an inattentive or absent neighbour with an accessible postbox, and never sign for receipt. Judging by the reviews, around 90% of shipments get through.

Despite the elaborate precautions, until now cryptomarkets have tended not to last long. The first, Silk Road, survived almost three years until the FBI tracked down its administrator, Ross Ulbricht, aka “Dread Pirate Roberts”. He is serving a life sentence for money-laundering, computer-hacking and conspiracy to sell narcotics. Its successor, Silk Road 2, lasted just a year before law-enforcement caught up with it. Buyers and sellers migrated to the next-biggest sites, Evolution and Agora. The former vanished in March 2015 with $12m-worth of customers’ bitcoin in an “exit scam”. Then Agora disappeared, claiming that it had to fix security flaws. The biggest still standing is Alphabay, though the recently opened fourth version of Silk Road could knock it off the top spot.

Quality assurance
The secretive nature of dark-web markets makes them difficult to study. But last year a researcher using the pseudonym Gwern Branwen cast some light on them. Roughly once a week between December 2013 and July 2015, programmes he had written crawled 90-odd cryptomarkets, archiving a snapshot of each page.

The Economist has extracted data from the resulting 1.5 terabytes of information for around 360,000 sales between December 2013 and July 2015 on Agora, Evolution and Silk Road 2. In total the deals were worth around $50m. For each transaction we know what was sold, the price in bitcoin, the date of completion, shipping details, the customer’s rating and the vendor’s pseudonym.

There are, inevitably, flaws in the data. Mr Branwen’s scrapes probably missed some deals. We excluded any sale that was more than a week old when the scrape took place. If a price was absurdly high we ignored the page; such “holding prices” are used by dealers to indicate a lack of supply. Vendors may fake sales (though probably not often, since cryptomarkets take a cut) or reviews (though dissatisfied real customers would soon catch outright fraudsters). The volatile exchange rate between bitcoin and dollars means our conversions of prices are not completely accurate.

MDMA (ecstasy) sold the most by value (see graphic). Marijuana was the most popular product, with around 38,000 sales. Legal drugs such as oxycodone and diazepam (Valium) were also popular. A third of sales did not belong in any of our categories: these included drug kit such as bongs, and drugs described in ways that buyers presumably understood, but we did not (Barney’s Farm; Pink Panther; Gorilla Glue).

Some of the products cater to niche interests. You can consume “with a good conscious [sic]”, promises one vendor for his “ethically sourced” THC chocolate, which costs 13% more than the ordinary, immoral stuff. “Conflict-free” cocaine is also available for the humanitarian (or delusional) drug-taker. And “social” coke—a less pure version sold at a discount of 5-25%—is aimed at buyers who want to look lavish on a budget.

The first striking finding is that drugs bought on the dark web are comparatively pricey (see chart 1). Even though buyers can browse for a bargain, in most countries a gram of heroin costs roughly twice as much online as on the street. The markup for cocaine is around 40%.

Courtney Higley's comment, July 20, 1:59 AM
I wonder how many government agents are allocated to searching and investigating the dark web? I’ve never heard of these online drug operations before, but I’m somewhat amused at how the article describes them, just like Amazon! In this day and age we can leave reviews on anything and everything, can’t we? I was relieved to hear that the drugs ordered and tested from these sites were good quality. That’s one of the downfalls of illegalizing drugs, there is no enforceable product quality or safety standard. With this kind of forum, however, customers can verify the legitimacy and reliability of the dealers. Dealers really do take on an incredible amount of risk in order to turn a profit. It’s actually somewhat impressive when you think about it, all the care that goes into advertising, packaging, and shipping in such a calculated and covert manner.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

The brain game

The brain game | Criminology and Economic Theory |
It is most cost-effective to act early to prevent infants turning into troublesome teenagers, but Mr Tough shows that policy can also help later on in childhood. He cites Turnaround for Children, a programme run in schools in New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC, by Pamela Cantor, a child psychiatrist. Turnaround trains teachers to make their classrooms more supportive and their classwork more engaging. Teachers are told how to defuse aggressive pupils, and are encouraged to set tricky team projects rather than drone on at the whiteboard.

Mr Tough’s book is one of many in recent years to argue that education policy in rich countries has emphasised academic skills while neglecting emotional and psychological development. His previous books, “Whatever It Takes”, about the Harlem Children’s Zone (a pioneering educational charity in New York), and “How Children Succeed”, pursue similar themes. Those books are better. “Helping Children Succeed” reads more like a succession of entries in a notebook than a new story worthy of a whole book.

Nevertheless, his message bears repeating. Too often, education policy zips from one fad to another, neglecting the deeper reasons why adversity leads to poor outcomes. Evidence-based early childhood projects are among the smartest ways to avert enduring poverty. Spending public money on infants can save taxpayers a lot of money later (on, say, job training and prison places). But such programmes must be rooted in scientific evidence and led by empathetic professionals who know what they are doing.
Michaela Cameron's comment, July 18, 2:19 AM
I remember reading an article about a teacher in a special ed classroom that gave individualized compliments and positive feedback to each student before class started. The students got better grades and had better behavior than other classes and they also started giving unprompted compliments to each other after participating in the morning routine. This follows social labeling theory s those who feel they have a positive identity with strong social bonds are more likely to fulfill that identity. If the students at this school from the article aren’t receiving enough positive feedback because the teacher is too focused on academic success then they might start to develop negative self-image. It is important that the students receive an all-encompassing education that doesn't focus primarily on academic success without social skills too.
Courtney Higley's comment, July 20, 2:41 AM
“But the staff were impersonal and cold, until researchers coached them in new ways: smiling at the babies, cooing, talking and other behaviours natural to parents.”

This is stated as if it was such a revelation. “Oh you mean we actually have to interact with the babies?” These actions should be natural inclinations for anyone choosing to work at an orphanage. Who hired these staff members anyway?

Being a mother myself, I have observed how crucial the first few years of development are to a child’s wellbeing. I definitely believe that the quality of a child’s attachment to their caregiver(s), which is developed in the first few years of life, affects the child’s sense of security, confidence, and ambitions was they grow older. I’m interested in the details and success level of Mr. Tough’s Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-up programme. Is there ever a point or age at which negative early childhood experiences cease to be “fixable?”
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Surviving Suicide In Wyoming

Surviving Suicide In Wyoming | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Local culture is a common explanation for the high rate in the West. In Wyoming, people call it the “cowboy-up” mentality — the get-your-shit-together, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, can-do attitude that they say is bred into children from a young age. That self-reliance helps people thrive in a landscape that’s big and tough, said Russler, but can also put them at risk if they get into a personal crisis.
Rob Duke's insight:
Similar problems to what we experience in Alaska....
Michaela Cameron's comment, July 18, 2:23 AM
The ability to "cowboy up" relies on the belief in ones self. If someone has a negative self-image then they are less likely to believe they can get out of a slump or depression. Strong social bonds like family and friends not only forma support system but also help anchor that internalization of strength within a suffering individual. Providing supports for people who need it create the building blocks for someone to build their own self esteem to help them get through hard times.
Kim Gomez's comment, July 24, 3:58 PM
The "cowboy up" mentality is exactly the problem in today's culture. Mental illness is such a taboo subject that people would rather tell others to 'suck it up' and deal with it, then to learn and have empathy towards those who are truly struggling. Mental illness, in my opinion, is something that should be taught in schools from a young age in hopes of destroying the stigma that people with mental illness face on a daily basis. We need to be supportive of one another and understand that when someone is struggling, telling them to 'cowboy up' only makes the situation worse.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Sen. Coghill’s criminal justice overhaul bill signed into law

Sen. Coghill’s criminal justice overhaul bill signed into law | Criminology and Economic Theory |
At a Juneau reentry house for female inmates Gov. Bill Walker on Monday signed into law a sweeping overhaul of Alaska’s criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 91 brings a flurry of changes to sentencing guidelines, prisoner reentry and other parts of the criminal justice system that are intended to undo much of what are now seen as ineffective “tough on crime” measures passed in the last three decades.

“Today, we’re making transformative changes to our criminal justice system,” Walker said in a news release. “With SB 91, we’re dropping the practices that we know don’t work to keep communities safe, and expanding the practices that do.”

The main elements of the bill, which passed by wide margins in the regular session of the Alaska Legislature, include policies targeted at reducing penalties for low-level drug offenders by reducing many possession crimes to misdemeanors from felonies and offering treatment. It also has similar measure for parole and probation offenders to reduce the burden on the prison system.

The bill also has significant changes for people in prison awaiting trials. The pre-trial population is one of the fastest growing segments of the current prison population and has spiked in the last 10 years as caseloads in the courts have grown. The bill allows expanded use of electronic monitoring in place of prison beds and offers people credit for attending substance abuse treatment.

The bill was authored by Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, who said in a News-Miner interview he was pleased to work on the overhaul. He said he believes the work put into it will dramatically change things for Alaska.

“It’s about improving public safety and getting better outcomes at less cost while still holding people accountable appropriately,” he said. “Plus, there’s avenues for people to succeed if they want to change their lot in life.”

The bill will reinvest nearly $100 million from savings and marijuana revenue to substance abuse treatment and reentry services.

The passage of the bill was applauded by many, including the Alaska Federation of Natives and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska.

AFN President Julie Kitka applauded the effort, noting it will allow the state to focus its efforts away from punishing drug offenders to focus on more important issues.

“With this legislation, Alaska is modernizing its criminal justice system, paving the way toward improving our state’s dismal record of inmate return to prison, diverting non-violent drug offenders toward treatment and prevention efforts, putting research into action to curb the epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse, and easing the overburdened prison system,” she said. 

One change

Along the way, none of the sponsors of the bill claimed Senate Bill 91 was a perfect piece of legislation and stressed it will be critical to monitor just how the bill plays out once it’s enacted.

At least one problem already popped up, and it’s the target of one of the bills Walker added to the special session on Monday.

The new bill would seek to repeal a few changes to the punishments for sex trafficking in the bill. The news release about the passage of Senate Bill 91 notes some of the changes may have created a loophole.

“(The new bill would) repeal sections of SB 91 that advocates of sex trafficking victims are concerned could potentially create a loophole affecting the state’s ability to prosecute sex traffickers,” the news release explained. “The repeal bill ensures sex trafficking victims are protected from retaliation.”
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Walker signs bill reducing underage drinking penalties

Walker signs bill reducing underage drinking penalties | Criminology and Economic Theory |
FAIRBANKS — It was a long and uncertain path, but a bill to overhaul Alaska’s treatment of minors caught drinking alcohol was signed into law Wednesday.
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 18, 1:17 AM
I'd definitely agree with you Kevin, education is the way to go. I can look back in my mind and safely say I was only educated about the effects of alcohol and how to safely consume it once or twice in 18 years (not including from parents). Charging minors with misdemeanors would be horrible as it goes on your record and sticks. I think the best thing to do is raise the fine, and mandate education courses. If the course is completed and they go 6 months without incident, they may be refunded whatever fine they paid. This not only gives incentive to not drink underage, but to also stay sober if you are caught.
Michaela Cameron's comment, July 18, 2:28 AM
Bryce - I like your idea that they can be reimbursed for the fine after completing the course and not having any other incidents. This perpetuates the idea that people cand change and that just because you were caught drinking underage doesn’t mean you have to continue on a path of criminal behavior or that you have failed at life. This seems like a good solution to a problem of teens drinking then becoming trapped in that culture throughout their life course. This lesson of ability to change and improve is a great lesson for youth to learn to help them live successful lives. It is important to not create stigma around juvenile deviance as the rates of repeat offenders is high for those who are released from juvenile detention centers.
Gunner Young's comment, July 20, 6:19 PM
I think that this bill sounds like it will be really helpful. I don't think that underage drinking should be considered a misdemeanor. That just labels youth into a criminal category. I think that requiring a class is also a good idea. I know when I was caught drinking underage I didn't even know that I could've received a misdemeanor charge. I think that the class was enough of a warning for me.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Criminal history and background checks: A look at how criminal records can affect access to jobs, housing, higher education

Criminal history and background checks: A look at how criminal records can affect access to jobs, housing, higher education | Criminology and Economic Theory |
2015 study in Criminology that looks at the evolution of the availability of criminal records and how having a criminal record affects a person's ability to secure work, housing and higher education.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

What Are Victim-Impact Statements For?

What Are Victim-Impact Statements For? | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Twenty-five years after the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, what exactly have victims of crime won? And at what cost?
Kevin Lawson's comment, July 24, 8:54 PM
I lean more towards the argument of using victim impact statements for healing and closure. The platform of a court room gives the speaker a stage where the audience are people that matter in hearing their opinion. It’s one thing to speak with a therapist, but speaking to a judge carries much more weight. However, as mentioned, victim impact statements communicate and, ideally, transmit emotion and empathy to the jury. A speaker wants justice for their lost family member. Inciting anger or sorrow helps the speaker’s cause. I wouldn’t say that this is a bad thing. In a court proceeding, jurors may experience those emotions in hearing the proceedings and viewing the evidence. An impact statement simply personifies it.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

A sports fan–friendly timeline of Russia’s Olympic doping scandal

A sports fan–friendly timeline of Russia’s Olympic doping scandal | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Russia's state-run system of cheating was exposed in the past year by a trio of whistleblowers.
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 24, 4:32 AM
I'd like to believe I am an avid sports fan although admittedly I truly only follow baseball closely. This is the first I have read any sort of timeline related to Russia's doping scandal and it is quite shocking. Not only were they able to cover the majority of it up for as long as they did but after it was uncovered those close to it began to die unexpectedly... Very strange. It would be interesting to see if these deaths were looked into closely or merely put on the back burner.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

In surprise, GOP looks to revive Depression-era banking law

In surprise, GOP looks to revive Depression-era banking law | Criminology and Economic Theory |
NEW YORK — The Republican Party has taken a page straight out of the campaign books of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. What? No, we're not kidding. In
Rob Duke's insight:
This is a HUGE development in terms of White Collar Crime and the Great Recession of 2007.  The big banks were all complicit in driving up risky investments because of the fees and interest they were able to charge.  

Not only did this cause the meltdown, but it hurt the economy in that we didn't invest in the "brick" economy, because we were too busy investing in risky subprime mortgages--Why manufacture anything when you can make 10X the profit in banking?  This hit as a double whammy during the depression: 1. people lost pensions and many lost homes when the real estate market crashed (try selling a home when you need to because you lost your job); 2. people lost jobs and there was too little opportunity to re-train or just simply take a factory job--these didn't exist in great numbers.

After the economy meltdown, many predicted that reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 would be a no brainer, but banks have successfully lobbied against it, which has again put our economy at risk.  Since virtually no one went to jail for the fraud that caused the economic melt down that destroyed millions of pensions and other investments of "normal" people, the banks have naturally snuck back into the same routine that led to the breakdown.  The most problematic behaviors (e.g. packaging subprime mortgages into funds, or synthetics, that the rating agencies gave AAA ratings, but were really worthless because the underlying mortgages were trash or because the fund was leveraged too many times with complicated repackaging, swaps, etc.).

This should have been Job-#1 after the collapse.  It's nice to see someone is finally taking on the giant banks.....
Michaela Cameron's comment, July 25, 3:09 AM
When citizens feel that there is an inequality, then we start to see deterioration of social institutions as strain increases. When the people see giants like banks and governments being given a pass after committing criminal acts, this split in society grows. If people feel that the system is unfair or that they do not have the means to achieve the goals set for them by sociey then strain continues to grow causing more and more criminal behavior on the individual level. If banks are finally being held responsibile for their risky behaviors and criminal acts then people might feel less strain and more equality.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Attacker in Nice plotted for months with 'accomplices'

Attacker in Nice plotted for months with 'accomplices' | Criminology and Economic Theory |
The man who drove a truck into a crowd in Nice, France, killing 84 people, plotted his July 14 attack for months with "support and accomplices."
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 24, 4:38 AM
While it is sickening that one person could think this action was acceptable, it is worse knowing there were 6 others known to give him support in doing it. He was described as a quiet guy but how is he not on police radar after making threats and exhibiting violence in previous months. Seems crazy that someone could fly under the radar for that long and end up committing an atrocity such as this.
Kevin Lawson's comment, July 24, 7:24 PM
Seems like quite the jump for him to progress from theft and assault to terrorism. Is there a way to identify potential terrorists? As the article mentioned, he hadn’t made any statements or taken action that would warrant a spot on a watch list. So how do we stop other individuals from making the same decision? As far as ISIS is concerned, we are doing a lot to monitor communications where it’s possible, but methods such as the dark web make this much more difficult. Speaking to terrorists to gain more information firsthand would be helpful, but their radical belief system often makes this difficult as they prefer to die in the attack itself. If he hadn’t been shot at the scene, Bouhel’s testimony could have proved helpful in identifying ISIS recruitment methods and painting a picture of future would-be terrorists.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Fairbanks pot industry gears up despite uncertainty

Fairbanks pot industry gears up despite uncertainty | Criminology and Economic Theory |
FAIRBANKS — New government proposals are being made to curb the evolving cannabis industry in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Lydia Weiss's comment, July 24, 5:05 PM
I agree with the person that said that if we can have places that sell alcohol, then it should be the same with marijuana as long as it is regulated the same and can still have DUIs given. Basically, just get a DD. Either way, even when it was illegal, if people wanted to smoke they were gonna smoke. With its legalization, the state can at least profit from that. It kind of annoys me, however, that a lot of progressive laws such as this, or gay marriage, etc. are fought and states/counties immediately scramble to make it illegal if they can as soon as it's legalized. If it's been legal for a while and there's problems, sure, but people don't even give chances for progression.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

The Mass Shootings Fix

The Mass Shootings Fix | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Australia and Great Britain made extensive changes in gun policy in response to mass shootings two decades ago, and there has only been one mass shooting in eit…
Rob Duke's insight:
538 are the best statisticians, but what do you think of their policy recommendations?
Courtney Higley's comment, July 20, 1:17 AM
I hear people voice the concern all the time that even if gun control legislation existed “criminals don’t follow the law.” The article stated something similar, that even if there are bans on certain types of guns and the government offers some type of incentive to turn in illegal guns, only law-abiding citizens would comply. I think this one of the reasons why conservatives tend to oppose gun control legislation, because with gun control legislation comes a “compliance curve” so to speak. If the government were to ban semi-automatic assault rifles, for instance, there would be a period of time shortly after of the law’s implementation where a significant number of semi-automatic assault rifles would still be retained and concealed by the public. However, over time, the guns would likely be confiscated as those law-violating citizens continue to break the law and are searched and investigated. Over time, there would be fewer and fewer illegal guns in circulation. I’m not saying that I’m an advocate for this particular ban, rather that there is going to be a compliance curve for any gun control legislation. I guess it comes down to whether you are willing to accept that as a necessary evil or not.
Gunner Young's comment, July 20, 4:33 PM
I'm not really for gun reform laws. I think that if someone really wants to go on a murder spree they can find a way to do it. Guns are easily accessible in the U.S. and that's why we see so many mass shootings with them. If we put a ban on weapons, just like the article said, it's only going to be people that are willing to give them up. I agree with Courtney in that there is a compliance curve and if we were to have a reform in gun laws, not all guns are going to come up and be turned in. I think that some laws could be beneficial in helping with our problems, but i don't think that it is going to solve mass killings, just mass shootings.
Kim Gomez's comment, July 24, 3:53 PM
I find it hard to believe that changing gun policies will drastically reduce mass shootings, or the number of people killed by guns. Drugs are illegal, have been for quite some time yet you can go to nearly any city in the US and find drugs. I believe it will always be the same with guns. I don't know exact statistics, but in most shootings especially in the Chicago area where I'm originally from, MOST guns used in violent crimes are stolen or not legally purchased. Also, the attack in France this past week gave light into the fact that mass murders and terrorists do not need guns to kill large numbers of people at once. It's not the guns that are the problem, it's a hateful society that's the problem.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia.

America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia. | Criminology and Economic Theory |

All the international student loan experts I have spoken with are shocked by how little time American students are given to pay their loans. In Germany, students pay their loans over 20 years; in England, it’s 30 years.

This makes sense. A core principle of finance is that the length of debt payments should align with the life of the asset. We pay for cars over five years and homes over 30 years because homes last a lot longer than cars. An education pays off over a lifetime, so it makes sense that student loans should be paid off over a long term.

The generous Swedish welfare system and low income inequality help keep borrowers out of default. With a strong social safety net, even recent graduates with low earnings can meet their small monthly loan payments.

But even in countries without Sweden’s welfare state, student loans function better than in the United States.

In Australia, income inequality is much higher than in Sweden. Yet while students borrow about as much as they do in the United States (30,000 Australian dollars, or about $22,000), the system works smoothly because borrowers pay nothing until their earnings reach about $40,000. Above that threshold, borrowers pay 4 percent of their income until the debt is paid off. Payments rise and fall automatically with earnings, just as our Social Security payments do.

But in the standard American plan, payments don’t vary over time. Borrowers face the same payments when they first get out of college as they will years later, when their earnings are higher and more stable.

Just like Social Security contributions, student loan payments in Australia are automatically withheld from pay. Some critics argue that payroll withholding gives student loans primacy over other expenses: Why should a student loan get paid before more basic needs — food, rent — are met?

But prioritizing basic needs is exactly what the Australian system does. The idea is that no one facing economic hardship should have to choose between paying student debt and paying for basic necessities. When earnings drop, loan payments drop immediately, allowing borrowers to devote their reduced budgets to essential needs. Borrowers don’t have to fill out an application, or even make a phone call, to get the payments stopped.

In the United States, student loan bills keep coming, no matter how small the paycheck. It’s up to borrowers to apply for a reprieve if their financial situation worsens. Getting on an income-based repayment plan depends on working with a loan servicer to complete a 12-page application. As shown by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, this is often a bumpy process that can take months. In the meantime, the bills keep coming — and millions of borrowers end up in default.

Payroll withholding is the only way to provide an immediate link between fluctuations in earnings and loan payments. Any other system delays the protections that low-income borrowers desperately need.

In the income-based plans available in the United States, payments do not adjust automatically; they are based on the previous year’s income and are flat for a year. If borrowers’ earnings fluctuate during the year and they want to adjust payments, they must fill out new paperwork, and that can take months. This is no way to protect borrowers — especially young, low-income workers — against shocks to their earnings. When a boss cuts hours, a borrower needs a loan payment to drop now — not a year or more later.

Staying in an income-based repayment requires filling out an annual application. Many who successfully enter an income-based plan find themselves kicked out the next year, when they (or their loan servicers) don’t complete the required paperwork on time.

While income-based repayment protects low-income borrowers, it also speeds repayment by high earners. The typical Australian graduate discharges student debt within eight to 12 years. Those with very high earnings (for example, lawyers) finish in as few as five years. That’s because payments rise automatically when earnings do. As a result, high earners pay down their debt more rapidly than they would in a system of flat repayments.

What’s special about the United States is not how much we borrow. What’s exceptional is that we have turned manageable debt into a financial disaster for millions.

The repayment system in the United States was built when students borrowed little; many did not borrow at all. Other countries have overhauled their loan systems to reflect changing times. The United States has not, and borrowers are paying the price.

Susan Dynarski is a professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. Follow her on Twitter at @dynarski.

Lydia Weiss's comment, July 19, 11:32 PM
While I like to think that there are individual people, some professors that actually care about my education and that I'm doing well, the truth of the matter is that universities have essentially become businesses, trying to drag out as much money as they can. This article just proves it. That and the hiked up tuition, housing costs, etc that seem to grow more every year.
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 24, 4:20 AM
Great point Lydia. A majority of Universities across the country only care about one thing, money. They always devise new ways to create more profit. Schools no longer care about whether you pass or fail, or get anything out of your learning experience. They only truly care about lining their pockets. This creates a problem where many have to borrow a majority of the money needed to cover their tuition, more often than not they will be forced to pay it off over the course of many years. The current system for student loans is extremely outdated and quite confusing for an incoming freshman. Things definitely need to change soon.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Screams Lead Police to Suspect in San Diego Homeless Attacks

Screams Lead Police to Suspect in San Diego Homeless Attacks | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Guerrero was arrested in the pre-dawn hours soon after a fifth transient was attacked under a freeway bridge. Two officers heard the 55-year-old man's screams and found him with severe trauma to his upper body — like the other four victims, Capt. David Nisleit said.

Police found Guerrero riding a bicycle nearby and uncovered physical evidence at the scene and at his downtown San Diego residence linking him to all the crimes, Nisleit said.

He would not give details about the evidence or the victims' injuries because investigators are still talking to witnesses and want to ensure the credibility of their stories.

"We have the right person in jail," Nisleit said.

A phone number could not be found for Guerrero, who grew up in the wealthy community of Coronado, across the San Diego Bay, known for its mansions and picturesque beaches. Police have not determined a motive and didn't say if Guerrero had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

He faces three counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson in the attacks that Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman called the worst she has seen in her 34 years in law enforcement.

"I firmly believe Guerrero is the suspect responsible for these vicious crimes," she said. "I say that with complete confidence after receiving a thorough briefing from our homicide unit and fully understanding the amount of physical evidence they have collected today and throughout this entire investigation."
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 18, 1:12 AM
It is absolutely horrible that someone could be brought up with the mid set that this was something they could actually do without repercussion. Targeting those that are less fortunate for these brutal attacks was cowardly and a sickening thing to do. While they may claim "affluenza 2.0" I hope they are able to charge Guerrero and make an example of him.
Gunner Young's comment, July 20, 4:09 PM
This is so sad to read about that someone would treat the less fortunate this way. I'm glad that he s caught and I hope that he is charged with all of these counts of murder.
Michaela Cameron's comment, July 25, 3:15 AM
I wonder what the motivation was for this offender to attack homeless. I wonder if they felt some sort of justification of victim as they might feel homeless people are less deserving or less human. It might just be that they are easy to access out n the street and usually don’t have a safety or support network to hinder any attack. If Guerrerro felt that he was more likely to get away with these crimes by going to poorer parts of the city then broken window theory could be applied. Either way this is awful and terrifying and I'm glad he is off the streets.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

New Orleans Searches For The Truth

New Orleans Searches For The Truth | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Low-profile murders like Damond Peters’s are far more common. Nationally, more than 6,000 young men ages 15 to 34 are killed in gun homicides each year2; two-thirds of them are black. The murder rate among young men has fallen much more slowly than violent crime overall. The figures in New Orleans are even starker: According to the New Orleans Police Department, nearly 80 percent of murder victims in 2015 were black men, most of them younger than 35.3

Most murders in New Orleans fall under what is often called street violence, a term that encompasses gang violence and drug-related killings but also a much wider universe of fights and arguments. Landrieu has worked to bring equal attention to these deaths, which he called the “shame of our city” in a speech at Tulane University shortly after Smith’s murder.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

Gun Deaths In America

Gun Deaths In America | Criminology and Economic Theory |
Methodology The data in this interactive graphic comes primarily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Multiple Cause of Death database, which i…
Rob Duke's insight:
Nate Silver's team at 538 do some great work using both traditional statistics (created as we know it by Fisher) and the less well known inferential method developed by Bayes.
Kevin Lawson's comment, July 17, 7:27 PM
Wow—This graphic really puts the numbers in perspective. How interesting that the majority of the stories covered by the media represent so few of the total gun deaths. The last slide hit the nail on the head. Each of the circumstances is unique in that there is not one “fix-all solution.” For instance, a background check on a man purchasing a gun may potentially prevent someone from committing a homicide, but what about taking his own life? The predominance of suicide is staggering. So what’s the solution? A good start is de-stigmatizing mental health. Great progress has been made in this effort, but by continuing to promote counseling resources and spreading a message of holistic health, to include our mind, we can do better.
Bryce Schwarz's comment, July 18, 1:31 AM
Amazing actually seeing the data in a format such as this. In my opinion, police shootings are getting blown out of the water by the amount of national media we have in todays day and age. This, combined with the amount of people who have smartphones that want their 15 minutes of fame lead to what we have now, an oversensitive public generalizing what ALL police are like based off of what they see in a minute long clip. They dont see what led up to it, they dont see why the police were called, they just see what the police do in the instant that all the action goes down. Once people realize they need to see the bigger picture America will be a much better place.
Scooped by Rob Duke!

The Supreme Court tells politicians how to take bribes without going to jail

The Supreme Court tells politicians how to take bribes without going to jail | Criminology and Economic Theory |
In his opinion for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts held his nose but agreed with Mr McDonnell. “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful”, he wrote, and “it may be worse than that.” But the court’s concern “is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns”. The legal question is whether the “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute” used to convict Mr McDonnell was the appropriate reading of the law and whether the fallen GOP star had made “official acts” in exchange for Mr Williams’ results-driven generosity. Merely arranging meetings and granting access to the levers of power, Mr Roberts wrote, do not constitute official acts:

To qualify as an “official act”, the public official must make a decision or take an action on that “question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy”, or agree to do so. That decision or action may include using his official position to exert pressure on another official to perform an “official act”, or to advise another official, knowing or intending that such advice will form the basis for an “official act” by another official. Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organising an event (or agreeing to do so)—without more—does not fit that definition of “official act.” 
According to this “more bounded interpretation” of “official act”, politicians are free to do many kinds of favours for constituents (or non-constituents) and there is nothing to stop them (except perhaps for a concern about how they might appear to voters or, in an extreme case, a pang of conscience) from doing bigger favours for people who give them more sumptuous gifts. The only rewards for generosity that could get an official into legal trouble are those that constitute tangible acts of quid pro quo: requiring a researcher to do a clinical trial, say, or voting for a particular bill in exchange for a cash payment. 
Lydia Weiss's comment, July 19, 11:36 PM
I'm not even sure how to word my disdain for this sort of thing. Supreme court is telling them how to get away with it, and yet we wonder why we end up with so many corrupt politicians...
pdeppisch's comment, July 20, 11:15 AM
Just think Oligarchy / Plutocracy! There never has been a democracy - it has always been a Plutocracy and politicians have always been part of the Plutocracy and so they look after their own. It is their tribe and the rest can go to hell.