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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
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Police went undercover to catch criminals. Their failure was inspiring.

Police went undercover to catch criminals. Their failure was inspiring. | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The officer also told anyone he interacted with that he couldn't count.
That gave people who purchased things from him — or in one case where a woman asked him for change for a $5 bill — an opportunity to be dishonest.
But nobody was. Instead, at the end of the operation, the officer had $24.75 more than he started with.
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A Gang of Rich, White Surfer Dudes Is Terrorizing a California Beach Town | VICE | United States

The ultra-rich claiming public beach property as their own is not a new thing in Southern California. In Malibu, the homeowners around Malibu's "Billionaire's Beach" illegally painted curbs red, erected giant walls in beach pathways, and put up fake tow signs, all to discourage outsiders. (After years of fighting, the community has finally opened up access to the public.) It's a more passive-aggressive approach than the one taken in Lunada Bay, but the rationale is the same: The moneyed locals believe they deserve private access to beachfront land that legally belongs to the public.

Yes, the "Bay Boys" aren't exactly the Crips or MS-13—and there's certainly something deeply silly about rich grown-ups pretending to be Anthony Kiedis in Point Break. But the violence they perpetuate is real. So why aren't they being treated like any of LA's other gangs?
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Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:09 AM
Wow. They going to put on their Nixon masks and go rob banks next? Ridiculous behavior, though it's not uncommon......ever try to visit any North Shore beach in Hawaii? Those are well-known "locals only" spots complete with "nod & wink" law enforcement. I understand the sentiment, protecting the home turf & keeping out the "undesirables", but a bit too much in this case.
Rob Duke's comment, August 7, 2015 2:01 PM
Lol. I've been in farm country where no one talks to the "flat landers". One town thought it was funny to give people the "long way" directions to find the National Park near the town, but to actually condone violence is way too far.... It could all be hyped up for the article, too, though. VICE is a source that isn't above sensationalizing stories.
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Twinkie CEO Admits Company Took Employees Pensions and Put It Toward Executive Pay

Twinkie CEO Admits Company Took Employees Pensions and Put It Toward Executive Pay | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Hostess company continues to screw over its workers.
Rob Duke's insight:

This is a common situation where investors or executives discover that the pension or some other asset (the real estate in Mervyn's case) is under-valued on the balance sheet.  They then siphon off the excess value as shareholder dividends or executive bonuses, but at some point, those chickens always come home to roost.  In this case, pensions are gone (in Mervyn's case, they went bankrupt when the market turned down because they were paying leases on the land/property that a few years previously Mervyn's had owned outright, which always helped it weather recessions in the past).

Corporations have no loyalties, no moralities, no country.  They have one incentive: make money for those in charge.  We complain about government, but regulation is the value added service that government provides to prevent these injustices.

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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 5:36 PM
While I tend to agree with (at least the) the theory of regulation, the cynic inside me says that government involvement in private enterprise is fascism (or something very akin to it). In a perfect world regulation wouldn't be necessary because businesses would be run by people of moral character who would do the right thing for its own intrinsic value and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Regulation may be needed, I just don't think the government is necessarily the best entity to be doing it. Which begs the question, "then who"? Truthfully.....I don't know. What I do know is that every chance the government gets to expand its control and power it does so, and that to me is ultimately more harmful than a company acting unethically, even criminally, towards its employees. If regulation is a necessary evil let it be done at the lowest possible level of government.
Rob Duke's comment, August 6, 2015 1:13 AM
I'd always go with the least intrusive method, too. In Germany, for instance, companies routinely have employee representatives on the board in sufficient numbers to veto this sort of asset raid. I'd support that solution over creating a new bureaucracy to monitor pensions.
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Provide sidewalks and enticing, pedestrian oriented streetscapes | ULI Building Healthy Places Toolkit

Provide sidewalks and enticing, pedestrian oriented streetscapes | ULI Building Healthy Places Toolkit | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
EVIDENCE BASED STRATEGIES
Build sidewalks in all new communities to encourage walking and to help keep pedestrians safe.
Include well-marked crosswalks, special pavers, and curb extensions to visually highlight pedestrians and slow traffic.
Light streets, trails, and public spaces to minimize dark and unsafe areas.
BEST PRACTICE STRATEGIES
Maximize transparency of facades at ground level—for instance, with windows—to increase visual interest and promote walkability.
Provide amenities such as bike racks, street lamps, public art, benches, and bus shelters to turn sidewalks into more appealing spaces.
Include street trees and benches along sidewalks to provide shade and respite for pedestrians and joggers.
Within large projects, provide maps and signage oriented to pedestrians—with mileage and key destination points in the area—to help people feel at ease about walking and biking.
Rob Duke's insight:

Don't forget how good urban planning can reduce opportunities for crime and accidents.  Also, if the built environment is inviting, people will spend more time in it and that will give you built in eyes and ears, which tends to discourage crime.

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Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, August 3, 2015 5:02 PM

Don't forget how good urban planning can reduce opportunities for crime and accidents.  Also, if the built environment is inviting, people will spend more time in it and that will give you built in eyes and ears, which tends to discourage crime.

Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:28 AM
Could be a good, even great thing. I wonder if this concept will be extended to the socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of town or remain in the domain of the tourist/rich areas? Could be an indicator of the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots?
Rob Duke's comment, August 7, 2015 1:56 PM
Like with the Fairview area in Anchorage, I think this sort of redesign can help, but it takes some time for that to make an impact. Even then, it's difficult to predict which areas will Gentrify, which has its own problems. We're not trying to push poor people out, but just make the area more safe. Some areas are so bad in terms of poor design (e.g. pocket parks that are de facto gang headquarters, etc.), that it can be like putting lipstick on a pig--looks nice, but it's still a pig.
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Why Criminal Justice Isn't Just

Why Criminal Justice Isn't Just | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Our system of law and order is out of date, unscientific, and cruel.
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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 5:47 PM
Brilliant article that succinctly sums up my disillusionment with my chosen career field. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the concepts of right & wrong vs legal & illegal are not the same things. They may, coincidentally, dovetail sometimes, but in far too many instances they do not. How can a crime against "the state" really be a crime? The state is NOT a person.
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Interpol Is Now Training Police To Fight Crime On 'The Darknet'

Interpol Is Now Training Police To Fight Crime On 'The Darknet' | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The arrest, trial and conviction of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht — and his sentence of life in prison — was a stark reminder that 21st ...
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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 9:08 PM
Ulbricht was caught because he ran his mouth too much, not because of any great investigation. If he could've kept his trap shut he would still be in business today. The "dark net" or "deep web" crime/drug websites are still up & running today, and there really is no way to stop them. If you think of the internet like an iceberg, the net that we use (by "we" I mean the 99%) represents about 10% of the total internet. Using TOR it is nearly impossible to track anything through the deep web....note I said "nearly impossible" not completely impossible.
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Here's What Your Eyes Look Like When You Take Different Drugs | VICE | United States

We asked a medical expert, and then snapped some photos of people on drugs just to make sure.
Rob Duke's insight:

As a rule of thumb: Stimulants dilate pupils (not reactive to light) and raise vital signs; Cannabis raises vitals somewhat and dilates pupils (but they remain reactive to light); Depressants lower vital signs; Opiates constrict pupils (not reactive to light) and really lower vitals.  Combinations usually split the difference.  So the HUGE pupil of the Stimulant when combine with an Opiate will go back to normal size, but not be reactive to light.  The Marijuana/Alcohol user will have normal vitals, normal pupils, but likely won't be able to cross their eyes (cannabis causes "lack of convergence).

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Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, August 2, 2015 11:52 PM

As a rule of thumb: Stimulants dilate pupils (not reactive to light) and raise vital signs; Cannabis raises vitals somewhat and dilates pupils (but they remain reactive to light); Depressants lower vital signs; Opiates constrict pupils (not reactive to light) and really lower vitals.  Combinations usually split the difference.  So the HUGE pupil of the Stimulant when combine with an Opiate will go back to normal size, but not be reactive to light.  The Marijuana/Alcohol user will have normal vitals, normal pupils, but likely won't be able to cross their eyes (cannabis causes "lack of convergence).

Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 9:02 PM
Rob, a REALLY interesting side effect I have seen with high (for that person) doses of marijuana......during lack of convergence test the eyes will not only not cross, but will separate & move independently on one another. It's super weird the first time you see it.
Rob Duke's comment, August 6, 2015 1:11 AM
yeah and the green tongue is usually another giveaway....(not telling you anything you don't already know, of course).
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LA's #100days100nights Gang Murder Bet Is Probably Bullshit

LA's #100days100nights Gang Murder Bet Is Probably Bullshit | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
You don’t need to pray for LA.
Rob Duke's insight:

...or maybe not b.s., too....boots on the ground are worried....

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Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:33 AM
More joy from sunny Kalifornia. I agree that it sounds like b.s., but given the current tense situation in the country (racially) it may represent a tinder box that needs just the tiniest spark to explode.....
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Is The Moon To Blame?

Dear Mona,

Do hospitals experience a larger number of patient admissions to the emergency room and/or labor and delivery during full moons? My nurse friend claims that this is a fact.

Brian, 34, San Ramon, California

Dear Brian,

When there’s a full moon, hospitalization rates do not increase (or decrease for that matter). That pretty definitive conclusion is based on several studies I’ve read this week, all of which tested the hypothesis that the moon affects our health.
Rob Duke's insight:

....but it sure seems like it.  When I was working the street in L.A., we also seemed to go batpoo crazy during the Santa Ana winds, too....

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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 9:53 PM
It does seem like it. That's probably because it is! I don't really care what the studies say, full moons make people crazy....it is always busier at work during the full moon.
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BREAKING- Appellate Court denies petition in Fairbanks Four case on sealed evidence

BREAKING- Appellate Court denies petition in Fairbanks Four case on sealed evidence | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
FAIRBANKS- The Court of Appeals has denied a petition meant to keep alleged statements out of court that support an alternate confession in the case of the Fairbanks Four.

In a ruling obtained by the Newscenter this afternoon, the Court of Appeals declined to take the petition and further ruled that alleged statements made by Jason Wallace under attorney-client privilege could indeed be brought into the Superior Court should the Judge rule they are admissible.

Contained in the three page response, it is confirmed that Wallace (referred to as J.W.) "made statements to an investigator working for his attorney which, if true, would tend to exculpate four defendants who were previously convicted of the same crime that J.W. described."

Wallace's attorney Jason Gazewood has fought to keep those allegations sealed and out of court as the four men Kevin Pease, Eugene Vent, Marvin Roberts, and George Frese continue forward with their litigation in a post-conviction relief filing.

Yesterday Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle ruled to lift the temporary stay based on the Appellate Court's decision.
We will have more details to follow.
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Jay Fulk's comment, August 2, 2015 9:55 PM
I did not live in Fairbanks with Hartman was murdered, but I have taken a special interest into this case over the last few years. I cannot help but think that there is some underlying reason why the confession should be kept out of court. Is someone hiding or covering up something that they do not want out in the open? I can't help but think that way because that confession, if true, sets free four innocent men. This ruling by the Appellate Court definitely makes things interesting now. I look forward to seeing what comes next.
Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:36 AM
Interesting twist. This has been going on since well before I moved to Fairbanks (2003). Curious what this new confession might do to things. I really hope 4 innocents haven't been in jail this whole time.
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Is #100Days100Nights Just a Threatening Hashtag or a Full-Blown LA Gang War? | VICE | United States

But conversations with locals, gang experts, and law enforcement suggest that, so far at least, the social media threat is just that—a mostly internet-based phenomenon, albeit one that is having some ripple effects on the street.

"Social media takes a big toll on the community when everybody is seeing it and everybody is paying attention to it," Reynaldo Reaser, executive director of Reclaiming America's Communities through Empowerment (RACE), a South LA–based gang intervention organization, tells VICE. "Law enforcement is paying attention to it to where they have a level of concern for violence in the area, so they put out a tactical alert on this."

Rightly so. But is the online game actually resulting in an increased body count? The LA Times reports that a series of shootings in South LA left one dead and 12 wounded this past weekend, but also that the bloodshed was largely confined to the city's most traditionally dangerous neighborhoods and did not represent a departure from the normal amount of gang violence.
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JonHochendoner's comment, August 1, 2015 12:35 AM
It should be monitored but if it is a legit contest, how will the winner be determined? If these gangs are enemies they're not going to come together and tally up the stats.
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Attorney general says tribal protective orders must be enforced

Attorney general says tribal protective orders must be enforced | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Attorney General Craig Richards in an opinion issued Thursday said that law enforcement officers must enforce tribal protective orders just as if they came from an Alaska court.
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Carson: 'Term limits create more opportunities for fresh ideas'

Carson: 'Term limits create more opportunities for fresh ideas' | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Carson: 'Term limits create more opportunities for fresh ideas'
Rob Duke's insight:

As a City Manager with a few dealings in Sacramento, term limits meant that legislators are no longer in charge. Term limits shifts the power to lobbyists and the Sentor's/Assembly Person's professional staff.  California has the Line Item Veto, so much of the power has already been shifted to the governor (power of the purse); by enacting term limits, you also move the power of persuasion. Instead of researching and writing new laws/amending old ones in partnership with their constituents, the legislator never has the time to figure out what they should do (because they term out), so they begin to depend on the lobbyists to help them. Laws are now written by interest groups and not by your reps. When I in grad school, I felt this way too despite what my professors recommended. It took having to witness the impacts for me to change my mind.

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Jay Fulk's comment, August 2, 2015 9:56 PM
I am a Ben Carson fan and he is absolutely right. Term limits should be set in place for every single office in our country. The creation of career politicians is exactly what is hurting our country right now. Give them two terms and then get new blood in there. Like he says, get some more fresh ideas in office.
Rob Duke's comment, August 3, 2015 3:28 AM
It's a trite solution. The problem is the rules that allow parties and old-timers to get more power based upon seniority, but the solution isn't to make it to where there is no real seniority. If you do that, then you lose all the wisdom in the legislature. We already have Presidential Aggradizement and it's poor policy to increase that power imbalance.
Rob Duke's comment, August 3, 2015 3:28 AM
aggrandizement....
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Massachusetts High Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Political Lies

Massachusetts High Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Political Lies | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The highest court in Massachusetts struck down a state law that makes it a crime -- punishable with prison time -- to try to influence an election by making a false statement about a candidate.

Via Thomas Schmeling
Rob Duke's insight:

Yeah, unfortunately, you can't make political lies illegal because that slope is too slippery and the law could be used to stop all dissent.  It's a matter of karma and the hope that, as Lincoln once said: "you can fool all of the people some of the time; and, some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".

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Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:12 AM
Meh. I'd much rather the focus be on how long politicos are allowed to campaign before an election, the amount of money they can spend, and term limit legislation. I think at this point in time anyone who is paying any attention at all realizes that politicians are scumbag liars. What ever happened to the idea of "citizen legislator" and when did "politician" become a valid career choice?
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Sentenced to 14 years’ hard LIBOR

Sentenced to 14 years’ hard LIBOR | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
YOU could keep a brothel, deal in firearms and engage in “wanton or furious driving” all at the same time and still end up with a prison sentence shorter than...
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Ex-Marine on death row says jurors should have been told more about PTSD

Ex-Marine on death row says jurors should have been told more about PTSD | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will decide whether John Thuesen deserves a new trial in the 2009 killing of his girlfriend and her brother.
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Clay Faris's comment, August 7, 2015 6:23 AM
Don't know where I come down on this Rob. While I'm not discounting the impact PTSD can (and does) have in people's lives, it seems like a mistake to give them a pass for violent behavior because of it. Ultimately we are, all of us, responsible for our own actions. Provided it can be proven that it was a factor at the time of the shooting, maybe consider it as a mitigator? Heat of the moment type of thing? I dunno. Like a lot of things I think it's a potential slippery slope.
Christopher L. Baca's comment, August 16, 2015 4:53 PM
I don't believe that they should be given any type of exclusionary treatment for their crimes, but I will say that I wish that for these men and women who served our country that they could be at least given some form of counseling while awaiting their end. Ya know? Just for me, I think that if they could get the help they needed while still in there could do a lot for them rather than just cutting them cold turkey and leaving them to die.
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From Theorist to Activist

From Theorist to Activist | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
How a philosophy professor with "monklike tendencies" became a radical advocate for prison reform.
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Video Shows Florida Suspect Chewing Off Fingertips in Attempt to Avoid Identification, Police Say

Disturbing video shows a man in Florida chewing the skin off of his fingertips in what police said was an attempt to avoid identification. The footage was recorded by a camera inside a patrol car, ...
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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 5:40 PM
Couple of things: first.....OUCH! Secondly: that's a dedicated man. Thirdly: Maybe it's time to revisit the idea of closing all the mental hospitals?
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Affordable Obamacare in California a Resounding Success

Affordable Obamacare in California a Resounding Success | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The study is the third in the series that started last 2013. It’s objectives revolved around knowing how the new law affects the lives of its dependents.

“For people that didn’t have health insurance, California has been very successful in enrolling two-thirds of that group. But the group that is left is a harder-to-reach group,” stated senior vice president Mollyann Brodie from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which released the survey’s results.
Rob Duke's insight:

In California, the elected to have their own plan (they already had an insurance commissioner, so this made a great deal of sense for them: also, they had advanced medicare and medical, so they spent a good bit of state money on health care, anyway).  Under the California run system, a Bronze plan runs about $446/mo. for a median age/median income family of four (minus an $82 mo. tax credit for a total of $364/mo.).  In contrast, the median income/age family pays: $800 with no subsidies for a comparable plan (if you live in Anchorage or Fairbanks).

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Jay Fulk's comment, August 2, 2015 9:52 PM
I'm sure glad that it is helping someone because it completely screwed me over. I was paying just under $500 a month to Assurant Health for my family plan. We had a $2,000 deductible and then it paid 80% up to an OOP maximum of $10,000. It was not a great plan, but it was good enough and affordable. I was kicked off of this plan after obamacare rolled out and went to sign up for a new one. The cheapest plan was $900 a month with much worse benefits. This plan would of had a deductible of $5,000 and an OOP maximum of $15,000. I cannot afford nearly $1,000 every month. So, we are uninsured right now.
Rob Duke's comment, August 3, 2015 3:33 AM
ouch. yeah. It's also age based so for my age, it would be over $2k month with pretty big OOP.
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Texas Attorney General indicted for felony securities fraud, prosecutor says

Texas Attorney General indicted for felony securities fraud, prosecutor says | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A grand jury has indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on felony securities fraud charges that accuse the Republican of misleading investors before he became the state’s top law enforcement officer, a special prosecutor said on Saturday.
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"Ban the box" removes questions about criminal record from job applications

"Ban the box" removes questions about criminal record from job applications | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
"Ban the box," which prevents employers from asking job seekers about their criminal records, is gaining in popularity. The goal is to give ex-offenders a fair chance at landing employment by delaying questions about a criminal past until further in the hiring process.
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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 8:58 PM
I agree with this idea, and I believe it should go further. I think that once a person is "off paper", meaning they have served their time in prison, completed all necessary/required restitution, and fulfilled all obligations of their probation/parole.....meaning they are completely done, their debt to society is paid in full, they should have full access to society again. Employers should not be allowed to ask (or know) a person's criminal history unless they can show it DIRECTLY relates to the work a person will be doing. By allowing employers to not hire ex-cons for the most part we have created a permanent sub-class in this country.....convicted felons have an extremely hard time finding jobs anywhere except in the food service industry (maybe some construction jobs). A job should go to the most qualified person, period.
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Simon to expand restorative justice - Canberra CityNews

Simon to expand restorative justice - Canberra CityNews | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
SIMON Corbell says the ACT Government will expand restorative justice to include adult victims and offenders from 2016. Simon confirmed that the Restorativ
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Clay Faris's comment, August 5, 2015 9:50 PM
I can't say this is a bad idea. Given the absolute mess of our current justice & correctional systems (i.e. - they aren't working) it's high time to try a different approach.
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New Research Shows that Teen Marijuana Use is Declining

New Research Shows that Teen Marijuana Use is Declining | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
As laws prohibiting marijuana become less punitive, the question, “What about the kids?” becomes more pressing to parents and other adults.
We at the Drug Policy Alliance urge young people
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JonHochendoner's comment, August 1, 2015 12:44 AM
Be open and honest in educating these kids. Scare campaigns and propaganda, as we've seen in the past, is ineffective and damaging. Kids and teenagers are intelligent, they can make better decisions with research-backed information.
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Cleaning up

Cleaning up | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Consequently, people like Ms von der Heyde have some tough decisions to make. She is unwilling to raise prices to pass the extra costs along to customers, as London is already expensive. So pay differentials may have to go, meaning that senior employees won’t get wage rises in line with the lowest-paid. The hospitality industry already employs a younger workforce than any other big sector (about one-third are under 25); many hotels and bars will hire more youngsters, who do not qualify for the new living wage until they are 25 years old. That should at least help to reduce youth unemployment, currently 16%.  
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Christopher L. Baca's comment, August 16, 2015 5:07 PM
I think that by employing the younger generation to work for these types of services is a smart and economical idea. Anyone under the age of 25 shouldn't be making the income that a career can bring, but that they should be making what a job makes. That's the difference that so few people my age seem to realize is that there is a fundamental difference in a job and a career.