Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
Curated by Rob Duke
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Closing a Budget Gap by Emptying Prisons

Closing a Budget Gap by Emptying Prisons | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A massive shortfall in Alaska has put reforming the state’s system of incarceration at the top of the agenda.
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Charles Marble's comment, January 17, 6:57 AM
This story was an interesting read and I like the fact that this option is being looked at. I do think that while all offenders should be held accountable for their actions, non violent offenders are affected in a more negative way the longer they are held in prison where they are many times introduced to a much worse criminal element from those that are in prison for violent offenses. If jail time is warranted in a case, I think that serving time on the weekends is a viable option that not only allows the offender to continue working through the week, but also keeps from adding to the job unemployment that is created when serving long sentences. Another point in the article mentions Alaska priding itself on not using a state or sales tax. I think that it is time to swallow that pride and do what needs to be done to pull ourselves out of this situation and coupled with the reformation of the state's incarceration system, not only will this accomplish that, but also put us on track to better be prepared for the future.
Rob Duke's comment, January 17, 10:37 AM
Yes, I've certainly seen it in my career where a short term in juvenile hall or jail seems to act like "finishing school" for the small time offender. With Prison it's more like graduate school. In each long-term exposure, the offender learns more serious criminal behavior, the techniques to be more successful, and the rationales that absolve them from the moral responsibility for the crime.
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Translation: Zhao Country and the Bankruptcy of Patriotism - China Digital Times (CDT)

Translation: Zhao Country and the Bankruptcy of Patriotism - China Digital Times (CDT) | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A novella published more than 90 years ago critiquing the social rot of late imperial China has found new meaning for netizens. In Lu Xun’s “True Story of Ah Q,” the titular anti-hero tries to associate himself with Young Master Zhao, only to be pushed away. The line “Do you think you’re worthy of the name …
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How To Make Sense Of Conflicting, Confusing And Misleading Crime Statistics

How To Make Sense Of Conflicting, Confusing And Misleading Crime Statistics | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Crime statistics often are confusing, misleading and incomplete — and rarely more so than at the start of a new year, when cities start reporting last year’s crime totals. Numbers out this week show a surge in homicides in many cities, adding urgency to the usual early-January headlines, but you should view them with extreme skepticism.

The New York City Police Department, for example, has been trumpeting what it calls record-low crime rates in 2015 — in the commissioner’s media appearances, in a press release and in tweets — without mentioning that homicides, rapes and robberies all rose from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the police chief and his predecessor are embroiled in an ongoing spat over the reliability of the department’s reporting of murder and shooting stats.

Late last month, former NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly said current commissioner William Bratton tried to deflate the city’s shooting totals by directing officers not to count people injured by broken glass caused by gunfire, or whose clothes but not bodies are hit in shootings. Bratton says such incidents have been omitted consistently since the department started tracking shootings during his first stint as commissioner in 1994. But he pointed out that both types of shootings are counted as aggravated assaults in official stats reported to the FBI.1

The conflicting messages make New York a good case study in the limits of crime reporting. Here’s a primer for how to understand crime numbers, in New York and beyond, and what they say and don’t about how safe we are from crime.
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Daniel Heselton's comment, January 17, 4:56 PM
I remember taking a class years back that had us examine the UCR and open up departments reports from other cities across the nation. What is examined in this article is much of the same that we came up with in our research for the class. Also, this article: http://crimeresearch.org/2013/12/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/ discusses some of the same problems that are faced across the globe. It also brings up a good point about the "endogenous" response that is a term used by economists and poses the following: "Suppose further, for the sake of argument, that gun control indeed lowers crime, but not by enough to reduce rates to the same low levels prevailing in the majority of countries that did not adopt the laws. Looking across countries, it would then falsely appear that stricter gun control resulted in higher crime." The unfortunate thing that exists today is that there is so much misinformation and half truths that prevail. Im not even convinced that a more prescribed method for reporting would better the situation as it still relies upon people to tell the whole truth without bias.
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This Guy Successfully Robbed Walmart By Dressing Up as a Cashier | VICE | United States

He walked in wearing a Walmart employee vest, took over for one of the cashiers, and then proceeded to check out a customer before unloading the cash from the register.
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Boan White's comment, January 15, 10:05 PM
Its sad when you can find how to guides to so things like robbing a store, like Wal-Mart, picking locks, or even making a home made bomb. I have to admit that simple putting on a vest Wal-Mart vest and simply walking in was simple and yet very smart customers wouldn't notice the difference and they would just avoid the other employees and presto. sometime simple is just smart enough to pull of a robbery.
Charles Marble's comment, January 17, 7:17 AM
Perhaps Wal Mart should invest in better floor management for the cashiers. How do supervisors not know the people that should be and not be at the registers? I do agree that it is mind numbing the amount of information that is available at our fingertips for anything now days from pulling off a robbery to building explosive devices. This particular theft seems to me to be more of lack of supervision from those in charge. By not paying attention, or allowing distractions so that someone off the streets can pull something like this off is embarrassing.
Colita Fiorenzi's comment, January 25, 1:47 AM
I think it's painfully apparent across the country that walmart isn't where anyone should be ever. I don't think I've ever met anyone that "loves" shopping at walmart. Yes, they have great bargains, but they also have a reputation for being the city catchall for everything bad. From their managers to the people that shop there, its pretty scary. I hate shopping in the one in my town and honestly, I don't think I'd like shopping at one in a different town.
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Vermont Governor Calls for Legalizing Marijuana in State of the State Address | Drug Policy Alliance

Vermont Governor Calls for Legalizing Marijuana in State of the State Address | Drug Policy Alliance | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin called on lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing and regulating marijuana in his final State of the State address today. He also declared the drug war a failure and expressed desire to continue emphasizing a health-based approach to drug policy by expanding treatment and overdose prevention programs, as well as by removing the stigma associated with drug use and addiction.

“Pete Shumlin is providing just the sort of leadership we need to see from other governors around the country,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Indeed, it’s a bit surprising, with a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization, that he’s the only sitting governor to actively call for it.  I’m hopeful this is the start of a new trend.”

Gov. Shumlin stressed that a marijuana legalization measure should contain the following:

A legal market to keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids;
Tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of illegal drug dealers;
Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs;
Strengthened law enforcement capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers
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Soda tax in Mexico causes serious sales dip in sugary drinks

Soda tax in Mexico causes serious sales dip in sugary drinks | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The first large-scale tax of its kind appears to lower consumption of sodas and sugary drinks.
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Judge: Pot Credit Union Can't Access Nation's Banking System

Judge: Pot Credit Union Can't Access Nation's Banking System | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
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A judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that sought federal approval for a credit union aimed at serving Colorado's marijuana businesses, saying pot is still illegal under federal law.

Fourth Corner Credit Union challenged a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to keep the pot bank from accessing the nation's financial system. The credit union, which was chartered by Colorado in 2014, is not allowed to take deposits or issue credit — leaving many marijuana businesses operating on a cash-only basis and causing concerns over the possibility of robberies.

Colorado voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012.

Lawyers for the Federal Reserve argued that giving marijuana businesses access to the nation's banking system is too risky, saying that despite guidance about pot banking from the Department of the Treasury, marijuana money should not be allowed into the nation's central banking system as long as the drug remains federally outlawed.

U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday because federal law prohibits the drug.
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Mary Grubbs's comment, January 14, 11:04 PM
I understand that the drug is still considered illegal by Federal Law, but I believe it would be incredibly irresponsible to not allow banks to accept it. When one runs a cash only business it could prove easier to create distrust or get tempted to defraud the IRS. I assume these companies have to pay taxes on this, if so, then they should also allow the money to be banked too.
Rob Duke's comment, January 15, 6:53 PM
I'm a proponent of bringing this trade up into the sunlight. Better to handle disputes with mediators, arbitrators and the courts than at the end of a gun barrel.
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Training the brains of psychopaths: Daniel Reisel at TED2013: Evil = Absence of Empathy

Training the brains of psychopaths: Daniel Reisel at TED2013:  Evil = Absence of Empathy | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

Training the brains of psychopaths: Daniel Reisel at TED2013

 

Daniel Reisel is here to talk about our brains. In particular, how we might change them–and how this kind of thinking might just change the tenor of society as a whole.

 

He introduces us to Joe, who’s 32, and a murderer. Reisel met Joe in Wormwood Scrubs, a high-security prison that houses England’s most dangerous prisoners. On a grant from the UK Department of Health, Reisel visited the jail to study inmates’ brains and try to find out what lay at the root of their behavior. “Was there a neurological cause for their condition?” he asks. “And if there was a neurological cause, could we find a cure?”


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Starbucks cashier admits her theft.

Starbucks cashier got caught up. Your a good kid?.....Tell it to the judge.
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Thomas Antal's comment, January 19, 8:34 PM
I don’t know if I buy the “Im a good kid” speech. Im pretty sure she’s putting together this sob story so the woman wont take any action against her. If I were her I would press charges of theft and fraud. If this girl did it to one customer it would be interesting to see how many other customers she stole from.
Rob Duke's comment, January 20, 2:54 AM
Oh, yeah: but she was probably given the card reader by a boyfriend or maybe just "some dude" who promised her half the money, then that guy just disappears leaving her to hold the bag. When I was a detective, this was done with checks (gas company refund checks printed up with a laser printer) and we'd always catch the young woman, but it took months to track down the guy with the computer/printer set up.
Anastasia Williams's comment, January 25, 12:59 AM
This is crazy that the girl thought she could take the card to the back and not raise any suspicion. Last year my card information was floating around in Wisconsin and I have never been there and what happened was at some store the system got hacked and it took such a long time to trace everything but we later found out that multiple copies of my card were printed. I wonder if her plan was just to buy clothes or to sell the card information.
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The 10 Weirdest and Wackiest Farm Crimes of 2015 - Modern Farmer

The 10 Weirdest and Wackiest Farm Crimes of 2015 - Modern Farmer | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Man, there was some weird farm crimes this year, from a serial chicken killer to a farmer who hid an illegal castle behind a big, big pile of hay.
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Weibo warriors

Weibo warriors | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
ON DECEMBER 25th, some three years after taking over as China’s leader, Xi Jinping posted his first tweet. For a man clearly rattled by the rapid spread of social media, and grimly determined to tame them, the venue was fitting. Uniformed military officials stood around as he typed his message into a computer in the office of an army-run newspaper (see picture). His new-year greeting was not to China’s more than 660m internet users, but to the armed forces—most of whose members are banned from tweeting.

It was clearly in part to intimidate feistier members of the country’s online community that the authorities arrested one of the country’s most prominent civil-rights activists, Pu Zhiqiang, in 2014 and eventually put him on trial on December 14th. On the basis of seven messages posted on Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of Twitter, Mr Pu was charged with “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” as well as “inciting ethnic hatred”. The court handed down a three-year suspended prison sentence, which means that Mr Pu will not be allowed to continue his widely acclaimed work as a lawyer (less than three years ago, he was the subject of a laudatory cover story in a state-controlled magazine). “It was not the worst outcome, but it set the most odious of precedents,” said a Weibo user in Beijing in a message to his nearly 57,000 online followers.
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Why so many Dutch people work part time

Why so many Dutch people work part time | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
THE Dutch are generally a pretty content bunch. The Netherlands consistently ranks as one of the best places in the world to live. Dutch kids are among the happiest in the world, according to Unicef. Some attribute their high quality of life and general good nature to a rather laid-back approach to work: more than half of the Dutch working population works part time, a far greater share than in any other rich-world country. On average only a fifth of the working-age population in EU member states holds a part-time job (8.7% of men and 32.2% of women); in the Netherlands 26.8% of men and 76.6% of women work less than 36 hours a week (see chart). Why? 
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We Used To Sleep In 2 Segments Every Night Until Electricity Was Invented

We Used To Sleep In 2 Segments Every Night Until Electricity Was Invented | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A lost hour when we woke up for praying, thinking, and sex.

Via Laura Brown
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The White House Is Joining With Genius to Annotate History for the State of the Union

The White House Is Joining With Genius to Annotate History for the State of the Union | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union, President Obama's former speechwriters will shed new light old addresses.
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White House questions Sean Penn role in drug kingpin case

White House questions Sean Penn role in drug kingpin case | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A senior White House official described as "maddening" Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's boasts about sending illegal narcotics to America, but he declined to say Sunday if actor Sean Penn faced potential legal liability for meeting with the fugitive drug kingpin.
Denis McDonough, the White House chief...
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Therapy wars: the revenge of Freud | Oliver Burkeman

Therapy wars: the revenge of Freud | Oliver Burkeman | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The long read: Cheap and effective, CBT became the dominant form of therapy, consigning Freud to psychology’s dingy basement. But new studies have cast doubt on its supremacy – and shown dramatic results for psychoanalysis. Is it time to get back on the couch?
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15 Ways Hogwarts Would Be Different If It Was In America.

15 Ways Hogwarts Would Be Different If It Was In America. | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
#7 is spot on.
Rob Duke's insight:

Sad, but true commentary...

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Michael Westmoreland's comment, January 15, 1:37 AM
This was great I just did a marathon of the series with family. Number three regarding health care caught my attention because I just discussed our health care system with my mom, she runs to medical facilities in California. Basically put it as those in the middle class paying for full health insurance coverage end up paying for it without using it and when they do they end up paying and additional fee after medical treatment. Then she said something about it preventing people from using life support at critical elderly age, so people would die off more rapidly. If I remember the discussion correctly, has anyone learned anything similar or the complete opposite. Number five was a good one, but luckily doesn't apply for Alaska.
Rob Duke's comment, January 15, 6:33 PM
Michael, It's an interesting insight into what we value as Americans. Is what we say we value through our political system, what we really value? You bring up just one idea here about the unintended consequences of a "boutique" medical care system that we think we get to choose and "buy" as much healthcare happiness as we want, but the reality is that we subsidize the poor (which we should do), but the boutique nature of the industry also allows for tremendous waste and probably too much profit for the corporations and pharmaceuticals firms who benefit the most. Is this really the best way to accomplish the underlying "American" value? Great comments and insight....
Daniel Heselton's comment, January 16, 7:39 PM
I almost could not contain my laughter with this story. This would actually make a great parody for film. Much like Idiocracy!
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It’s Harder Than It Looks To Link Inequality With Global Turmoil

It’s Harder Than It Looks To Link Inequality With Global Turmoil | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
For thousands of years, close observers of politics have claimed that economic inequality causes political turmoil. In 350 B.C., Aristotle identified inequality as a principal driver of revolution and state collapse. In 19th-century Europe, Karl Marx concurred (and, in a fashion, applauded). In 2011, as the Arab Spring unfolded, Kenyan journalist John Githongo claimed in The New York Times that “radical and growing economic inequality animated much of what was at stake in the various Arab uprisings, and it will play a major role in shaping African politics for years to come.” And in a recent column for Le Monde, economist Thomas Piketty argued that “terrorism feeds on the Middle Eastern powder keg of inequality.”

Just because a belief is widely held, however, does not make it true. In fact, it’s still hard to establish with confidence whether and how economic inequality shapes political turmoil around the world. That’s largely because of the difficulty in measuring inequality; on this subject, the historical record is full of holes. Social scientists are busy building better data sets, but the ones we have now aren’t sufficient to make strong causal claims at the global level.
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Sheriff: Oregon Occupiers to Face Charges After Standoff

The anti-government activists who took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon are going to face federal charges when the siege is over, the local sheriff told NBC News on Wednesday.

“The (FBI) has assured me that those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will at some point face charges,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward told NBC News.

Ward did not go into specifics. Neither would the FBI, which has kept its cards close to the vest during the now five-day drama in remote Burns, Oregon.
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A new study on twins affirms many cancers may really run in the family

A new study on twins affirms many cancers may really run in the family | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Having a twin sibling diagnosed with cancer increases the risk for also developing the disease, according to a new study published Tuesday in JAMA. This large-scale study, based on more than 200,000 same-sex twins, sheds light on the role genetic and environmental factors play in contributing to the risk for the disease, suggesting family history is significant to cancer risk.

The study looked at familial risk, which is a person’s lifetime risk for cancer given that their sibling develops the disease. But it also analyzed the data for cancer heritability, a measure of the variation in a population that is due to genetic differences that may contribute to cancer risk. To calculate heritability, the researchers compared the familial risk for cancer in fraternal and identical twins.
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What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims?

What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The argument dates back to the death in 632 of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad. Tribal Arabs who followed him were split over who should inherit what was both a political and a religious office. The majority, who would go on to become known as the Sunnis, and today make up 80% of Muslims, backed Abu Bakr, a friend of the Prophet and father of his wife Aisha. Others thought Muhammad’s kin the rightful successors. They claimed the Prophet had anointed Ali, his cousin and son-in-law—they became known as the Shia, a contraction of "shiaat Ali", the partisans of Ali. Abu Bakr’s backers won out, though Ali did briefly rule as the fourth caliph, the title given to Muhammad’s successors. Islam's split was cemented when Ali’s son Hussein was killed in 680 in Karbala (modern Iraq) by the ruling Sunni caliph’s troops. Sunni rulers continued to monopolise political power, while the Shia lived in the shadow of the state, looking instead to their imams, the first twelve of whom were descended directly from Ali, for guidance. As time went on the religious beliefs of the two groups started to diverge.
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Video Shows Woman Confronting Starbucks Employee Over Alleged Credit Card Theft

Video Shows Woman Confronting Starbucks Employee Over Alleged Credit Card Theft | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A California woman recently confronted a Starbucks cashier who allegedly stole her credit card information and used it for a shopping spree.
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, January 5, 3:53 PM

Sometimes wrong will find you where it can even on your job.

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Reconsidering the ankle monitor

Reconsidering the ankle monitor | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

"Can the punitive technology be reimagined as a force for good? ..."

©


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Order to remove homeless from NY streets faces challenges

Order to remove homeless from NY streets faces challenges | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
As bitter winter weather arrived in the Northeast, New York’s governor issued an executive order requiring the homeless to be forcibly removed from the streets in freezing temperatures, an unprecedented government intervention that faced immediate legal questions and backlash.
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