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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Madoff fund has paid zero to fraud victims so far

Bernard Madoff fraud victims have gotten zero from a firm hired to distribute funds. The fund's special master, Richard Breeden, has been paid $38.8 million.
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Is $50 too much for a public defender in LA County? Some say make it free

Is $50 too much for a public defender in LA County? Some say make it free | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A $50 fee charged to defendants who seek legal counsel from a public defender is expected to come under a vote Tuesday when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will discuss whether the payment should be revoked. Dozens of states and cou
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Fairbanks emerges as Alaska’s marijuana hub

Fairbanks emerges as Alaska’s marijuana hub | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
State tax records show that nearly half of all marijuana bud, flower and trim sold legally in Alaska through April was grown in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which also boasts nearly half of Alaska’s taxpaying cannabis cultivators.  

So far, growers in Fairbanks have cultivated and sold about 800 pounds of marijuana and paid $444,000 to the state in taxes, records show.

Statewide, 1,640 pounds of marijuana has been cultivated and sold by 33 growers, who have collectively paid almost $1 million to the Alaska Department of Revenue, according to the department’s tax division.
Rob Duke's insight:
All that money and more was once hidden in the underground economy where it wasn't taxed; and, because it didn't have access to dispute systems like the courts, mediators, and arbitrators, it also created more work for the police when disputes became violent.

See the late Gary Becker's work at the Univ. of Chicago for more.  Becker won a Nobel Prize in economics, in part, for this work.
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WH social media director warned after tweet

WH social media director warned after tweet | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Hatch Act prohibits employees in the executive branch, except the President, Vice-President and some other high-level officials, from engaging in political activity.
Rob Duke's insight:
A different sort of WCC....
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NYC pension fund to back out of investments in private prisons

NYC pension fund to back out of investments in private prisons | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
NYC’s pension system has become the first in the nation to fully divest from private prisons.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is a good step in rolling back the crime control and prison industry.  This creates an unnatural pressure to keep those facilities "full" so that the revenue flow from the state continues.
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Stanley Kreft's comment, June 10, 6:44 PM
I agree, the police should not have an interest in how full the prisons are. It is a conflict of interest for your retirement to be posted by how full the prison stays. Conversely i can also see how this may help boost police proactiveness, but in the end i still see it as a conflict of interest.
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Eight Indicted on 66 Charges in Ohio Poaching Ring | The Venatic

Eight Indicted on 66 Charges in Ohio Poaching Ring | The Venatic | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
With Zayac’s picture sitting atop the pyramid that looks more like something out of a Scorsese movie, Todd Neczeporenko, Terrance Ankrom, John Stofan, Rebecca Gregerson, Tina Ankrom, John Frost and Craig Steed were pictured below in the organizational chart and charged Tuesday in court.

“These are racketeers in camouflage,” Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor James Gutierrez said.

As details of the poaching operation were uncovered, prosecutors revealed that Zayac organized hunts on private properties scattered across Broadview Heights, Brecksville, and North Royalton – all areas with healthy deer populations.

Prosecutors indicated that Zayac, Ankrom, and Stofan used bows to take 39 deer, including 22 bucks over two hunting seasons, surpassing state bag limits.  To skirt the regulations, Zayac left a number of deer unreported and used his wife and Terrance Ankrom’s wife to falsify state check-in tags.

It was reported that over those two hunting seasons, Todd Neczeporenko processed 2,000 pounds of meat at his processing business known as Smokin’ T’s.
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Boan White's comment, June 11, 9:12 PM
I am glade that the luck of the largest poaching rings in recent history in the Buckeye State have finally received there karma back lash for all the excess in animal lives they have taken.
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Could this technique stop the school-to-prison pipeline?

Could this technique stop the school-to-prison pipeline? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Restorative Justice aims to stop the school-to-prison pipeline by focusing on rehabilitating offenders through mediation instead of allowing students to go through the court system, which board member Patsy Simpson has seen a lot of lately.

“What I see now is, [while in] the old days when principals handled things and it didn’t include law enforcement, now the easy way out is to make that referral,” Simpson said. “I believe that in Alamance County, this is just my personal opinion, we’ve gotten into this mindset that, ‘You broke the law, therefore let them handle it,’ and it puts a lot on law enforcement and takes the focus away from the fact that these are children and we’re damaging children for the rest of [their] lives.”
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DS's curator insight, June 8, 11:42 AM

It is important to deal with the issue of bullying before youths are labeled "problem students". Diversion programs should be used for first-time felony offenders. Rehabilitation for youth offenders may lend itself to alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice practices such as victim-offender mediation/reconciliation programs, arbitration, or family-group conferencing. Cyber-Delinquency is also referenced in this article.

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How to Stop Mass Incarceration Where It Starts

How to Stop Mass Incarceration Where It Starts | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A new report from the Prison Policy Initiative shows that the populations of local jails are swelling for reasons that have little to do with crime.
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DS's curator insight, June 8, 10:54 AM

The goal is deterrence (specific/general). Diversion Programs have social stigmas of their own (labeling theory). Alternative Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice practices are one way to avoid the formal criminal justice system. It sounds like some of that is being hybridized into the adjudication process. Problems with bail include lengthy pretrial detention, and avert-able recidivists. Critical Criminology. 

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At $75,560, housing a prisoner in California now costs more than a year at Harvard

At $75,560, housing a prisoner in California now costs more than a year at Harvard | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
That’s enough to cover the annual cost of attending Harvard University and still have plenty left over for pizza and beer

Gov. Jerry Brown’s spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes a record $11.4 billion for the corrections department while also predicting that there will be 11,500 fewer inmates in four years because voters in November approved earlier releases for many inmates.
Rob Duke's insight:
Budget isn't going down, but prisoner population is...so what did they think would happen to the average cost?
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DS's curator insight, June 8, 8:47 AM

This photo is reminiscent of Thomas Hobbs, social contract theory. Von Hirsch's theory applies here; Prop. 47 has emerged as part of the Public Safety & Schools Act. Calif. has made efforts to realign.  

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Two face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Oakland warehouse blaze

Two face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Oakland warehouse blaze | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Two people were arrested on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the deadly California warehouse fire that killed three dozen people more than six months ago, including the manager of the property, officials said Monday.
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LAPD Uses Spit From Sidewalk to Tie Suspect to 2 Killings

LAPD Uses Spit From Sidewalk to Tie Suspect to 2 Killings | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have arrested a man suspected of killing two women in 2011 and dumping their bodies on California freeways.
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Rob Duke's comment, June 24, 2:01 AM
Sterile water, cotton balls, and small tins are all that are needed to collect blood, semen, and saliva. It's not that expensive to have the equipment.
Dorothy Retha Cook's comment, June 24, 9:50 PM
Thanks to all for your comments.
Dorothy Retha Cook's comment, June 24, 9:51 PM
Thanks to all for your shares and opinions as they are greatly appreciated and opinions values.
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Why does a California senator want to make it harder to catch bad doctors?

Why does a California senator want to make it harder to catch bad doctors? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
As the law stands now, officers who investigate tips about doctors who write questionable prescriptions can check a monitoring database maintained by the California Department of Justice. There, they can look for patterns, or connections to criminal enterprises including big-time distributors and gang operations.

This database, which goes by the unfortunate name of the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), is a vital resource, law enforcement officials say.

Is this helping patients or doctors?

But under Senate Bill 641, by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), law enforcement officials would need to get a search warrant before using CURES to check on a doctor.

Why the change?

“Given the sensitive and confidential nature of the information within this system, there is a need to strengthen patient privacy protections,” Lara said in a statement emailed to me by his staff.
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Source: Brother of dismembered boy's killer found dead

Source: Brother of dismembered boy's killer found dead | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Nearly six years after detectives uncovered the dismembered remains of an 8-year-old boy in a Brooklyn house, the brother of the man now imprisoned for killing the child was found dead in the same family home.

Police responding to a call from the family on Friday discovered the body of Tzvi Aron, bound, wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a basement closet, a law enforcement official said.

The 29-year-old bakery worker had last been seen on Tuesday. The death is being investigated as a homicide; Aron had recently been threatened but it wasn't clear why, the official said. The medical examiner will determine a cause of death. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Tzvi's brother, Levi Aron, pleaded guilty in July 2011 in the kidnapping and killing of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky. Leiby got lost on his walk home from a religious day camp. It was the first time he was allowed to go home alone and he was supposed to walk about seven blocks to meet his mother, but missed his turn. On the street, he ran into Levi Aron, who promised to take the boy home.

Instead, Aron brought the boy about 40 miles (64 km) upstate to Monsey, New York, where he attended a wedding before bringing him back to his home. He kept him there overnight and the following day when he went to work at a hardware store.

Meanwhile, a massive search for the boy was underway in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, home to one of the world's largest communities of Orthodox Jews outside of Israel. Thousands of volunteers from the Hasidic community had assembled to comb the streets. Aron is Orthodox but not Hasidic. The Hasidim are ultra-Orthodox Jews.

When Aron noticed flyers plastered on lampposts with the boy's photo, he said he got spooked, went home and suffocated the boy, police said. A toxicology report found Leiby also had been drugged.

Detectives found the boy's severed feet, wrapped in plastic, in a freezer at Aron's home, about 2 miles (3 km) from the boy's home. A cutting board and three bloody carving knives were found in the refrigerator. The rest of the boy's body was discovered in bags inside a red suitcase in a trash bin about a mile from the home. His legs had been cut from his torso.

Levi Aron pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing the boy, and is serving 40 years to life in prison.

In the years since, his family remained at their Brooklyn home, which is divided into apartments. Tzvi lived in the basement apartment; Levi had lived on the top floor. Another brother also lives there. The family's mother died from cancer and a sister, Sarah, died while institutionalized with schizophrenia before Levi Aron was arrested, according to Levi Aron's psychiatric report obtained by the AP.

Tzvi Aron defended his family at the time his brother was arrested, saying they were unaware of Levi's acts.

"People who know us know we're a good family," he told New York's Daily News at the time.

Over the years they've received dozens of death threats after the horrifying killing. On Friday, police once again cordoned off the cream-colored home, in Brooklyn's Kensington neighborhood, as a crime scene.

"It was spooky," neighbor Kathleen Henderson told the Daily News. "Everyone keeps an eye on that house for obvious reasons. No one trusted them after that incident with the little boy."
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Kimber Elena Andruss's comment, June 5, 7:56 PM
I wonder if this is retaliation? It's interesting to me that the boy's killer received quite a lengthy sentence and yet his brother has been brutally murdered. I suppose though, when facing the death of a child, a life for a life may feel like the only acceptable punishment. I can't imagine what both families are going through right now.
Anna Givens's comment, June 10, 4:07 AM
This looks like retaliation. The brother is murdered in a similar way as his brothers victim. The articles also states that the family along with the brother have received numerous death threats. It seems odd to stay in a home where such a tragedy occurred- but also if your safety is jeopardized- I would of thought about leaving the area. An eye for an eye is never fair in my opinion- I hope justice is served in this case.
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LA County Puts Thousands of Kids on “Voluntary” Probation for Merely Struggling With School |

The program, known unofficially as “voluntary probation,” assigns children 10 to 17 considered by the county to be “at risk” to a professional probation officer, with their parent or guardian’s permission.
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10 attorneys, 6 others charged by O.C. District Attorney’s Office in what it calls a massive workers’ comp scheme

10 attorneys, 6 others charged by O.C. District Attorney’s Office in what it calls a massive workers’ comp scheme | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed felony fraud charges against 10 attorneys and 6 others Monday in what prosecutors say is a massive workers’ compensation-referral sche…
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Idaho lawyer suspended for evidence tampering in Alaska

Idaho lawyer suspended for evidence tampering in Alaska | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
An Idaho lawyer's license to practice law has been suspended for a year after he pleaded guilty to evidence tampering in a 2014 drug case in Alaska.

The Idaho Supreme Court found Jeremy Featherston had violated the bar's rules of professional conduct by committing a criminal act that reflects poorly on a lawyer, the Bonner County Daily Bee reported (http://bit.ly/2rUwEH3 ).

Court documents state Featherston's former brother-in-law was arrested in Alaska on drug charges when he reached out to his wife from a jail and asked her to erase data on two of his mobile phones.

Featherston is accused of erasing the data on the two devices, which were being held as evidence by authorities in Alaska. He was charged with felony evidence tampering in Alaska in 2016.

The State Bar stated Featherston was ordered to complete 80 hours of community service. Alaska court records also showed Featherston was fined $2,500.

Featherston will be on probationary status with the bar for one year after the suspension expires.

Featherston said in a statement Thursday he was "not aware the devices were the subject of any criminal investigation, nor that they were actually in police custody at the time."
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Stanley Kreft's comment, June 10, 6:40 PM
Cases like these I believe it should be mandatory to give the offender the maximum punishment. He was a licensed practicing attorney, and knew the legalities of what he was doing. He also knew the probabilities of what the outcome would be if he was to get caught. I also don't think he should be allowed to practice law anymore at least fr sometime like 5 years or so, to only receive probation is ridiculous.
Boan White's comment, June 11, 9:11 PM
A licensed lawyer's from Idaho was found guilty of violating the bar's rules of professional conduct by committing a criminal act that reflects poorly on a lawyer and he is merely charged with completing 80 hours of community service, fined $2,500, and a probationary status with the bar for one year after the suspension expires. That is too lenient Mr. Featherston should be suspension indefinitly from being a lawyer.
DS's curator insight, June 18, 3:27 AM

How could you not be aware the devices were "in police custody"? were they secured as evidence or not? Articles like these are purposely intended to confuse the reader (public). "Lawyer violates professional code of conduct." In a drug case, this was not his first-time. Here comes the weak sentence; likely due to insider information "ABA suspension + 80 hrs of community service = White-collar crime". - Associated Press

 

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Kawei K1 pickup blatantly copies Ford F-150

Kawei K1 pickup blatantly copies Ford F-150 | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The Chinese auto industry used to be looked at as a joke full of products blatantly copied from foreign vehicles. However, companies like Qoros and others show that the country's automakers have taken big steps in terms of original design. It doesn't look like every automaker there is ready to put down the tracing paper yet, though. Case in point: The Kawei K1 pickup pictured above, which is an obvious rip-off of the Ford F-150. In fact, the company isn't even hiding it.
Rob Duke's insight:
Here's a different taste of White Collar Crime....

When I was heavily involved in guitar playing, we'd see the dealers approach the music store management and try to sell knock-off Martins and Gipsons that were made in China.  About anything that is made anywhere of high quality is counterfeited there.....
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Stanley Kreft's comment, June 10, 6:51 PM
I lived in South Korea for two years, and you are absolutely right everything is counterfeited there. Situations like this where they completely undermine the economy of other nations whom they directly do business with should be felt with stringent fines, import taxes, and trade embargoes. China is a case of where deterrence measures do not fit the crime. They know they will not be held to pay for international infringements and so blantantly disregard them. If there were increased penalties that were strictly enforced perhaps China would not so openly and frequently steal others designs.
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Announcing the Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016 | Smart Growth America

Announcing the Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016 | Smart Growth America | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
As of the end of 2016, more than 1,000 jurisdictions in the United States have made formal commitments to streets that are safe and convenient for everyone—no matter their age, income, race, ethnicity, physical ability, or how they choose to travel—by passing a Complete Streets policy. Specifically, 13 communities led the nation in creating and adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies last year.
Rob Duke's insight:
Want to cut down crime and lower traffic related damage/injuries? Then, build these types of street scapes....
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DS's curator insight, June 18, 3:07 AM

This article relates to public policy, "Complete Streets Policies 2016" would hardly be comprehensive without primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention programs. Smart Growth America wouldn't be all inclusive if they didn't mention Socioeconomic Structure and Crime. Since they did, I will elaborate; Social D, Strain (anomie), Cultural deviance. Don't forget to manage those non-profit community service outreach programs for at-risk youth. It is important to build social capital. 

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Detroit Police want to make Greenlight cameras mandatory for businesses open after 10 p.m.

Detroit Police want to make Greenlight cameras mandatory for businesses open after 10 p.m. | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department are considering making Project Greenlight mandatory for any business that's open after 10 p.m. Police say it's helped to curb violent crime but the plan to make it mandatory is raising privacy concerns.

Detroit Police and the City Council are working on a mandate that would require businesses open past 10 p.m. within the city limits to be members of this initiative. Chief James Craig is pushing on business owners in the city to get on board.

"If you want to be a good neighbor and do business in the city of Detroit, be a good neighbor"
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Fired worker kills five and himself in Orlando rampage

The shooting was being handled locally and had no apparent link to terrorism, the FBI said.
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Boan White's comment, June 11, 9:12 PM
A fired employee kills five and himself that is depressing and a wast of life.
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Cat tax whistleblower could get IRS reward of $600 million

Cat tax whistleblower could get IRS reward of $600 million | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A bombshell report from Bloomberg Businessweek on the inner workings of an alleged tax evasion scheme inside Caterpillar says the man who alerted authorities could walk away with the biggest paycheck of any U.S. whistleblower to date, and paints a not-so-pretty picture for Cat as a federal investigation into the company continues.

According to the report, Daniel Schlicksup, a once highly-trusted member of Cat’s corporate accounting team, began warning company executives of the illegality of the alleged tax scheme as early as 2007. But, citing Schlicksup’s testimony and affidavits, Bloomberg reports that his superiors and members of the Cat executive team not only ignored Schlicksup’s warnings, but moved him away from the company’s accounting team and allegedly made veiled threats to deter him from going to the media with his allegations.

Federal law enforcement officials raided three Cat facilities in early March as part of an investigation into the company’s tax strategy stemming from a lawsuit filed by Schlicksup against Cat in 2009. The suit alleged the company used what he referred to as a “Swiss structure” and a “Bermuda structure” to avoid paying taxes by moving select profits to offshore shell companies located in Switzerland and Bermuda.

The company has been accused of avoiding more than $2 billion in taxes using the scheme and as a result, the IRS reviewed Cat’s 2007 to 2009 tax returns and levied $1 billion in penalties and increased taxes in early 2015. Among those penalties was a retroactive taxing of profits earned from Caterpillar SARL, a Switzerland-based parts subsidiary.

The lengthy Bloomberg report provides greater detail into the alleged scheme, Schlicksup’s many years of efforts to alert the company’s leadership and portrays Caterpillar executives as at best ignoring the warnings and at worst working to cover up the scheme and silence Schlicksup.
Rob Duke's insight:
Here's a good candidate for a case study in the White Collar Crime class....
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Gang culture is changing with leadership, social media and spike in youth violence

Gang culture is changing with leadership, social media and spike in youth violence | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it

It’s 1:54 a.m. on July 30, 2006. The call to Metro Police dispatch is from the east valley, about a house party loud enough to rattle a neighbor’s windows. “I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s trouble waiting to happen out here. The dogs are going crazy,” the caller says, guessing there could be 100 kids at the party. “Nobody in this house is sleeping, or on this block.”


Officers swarm the residence on Miner Way, sending partygoers scrambling, including 16-year-old Abraham Barragan and a woman he’d danced with earlier. The two are suddenly blocked by a black SUV. One dark-tinted rear window rolls down, and a passenger says “What’s up?” before shooting Barragan in the arm, stomach and chest.

No arrests are made in connection to Barragan’s death that Sunday. Detectives can’t pinpoint a motive, but they see two possibilities: Barragan’s dance partner (whose statements to police were inconsistent) may have had a jealous boyfriend at the party, and Barragan may have been in a gang. His family and friends deny any affiliation, but the teen’s tattoos suggest he was part of a group that sees itself above the law.


That ruthless, senseless killing was a vision of the developing shift in gang violence in Las Vegas.

Younger members are now quicker to pull triggers over simple disputes, police say, and the old codes of conduct and family dynamics have gradually been overshadowed by the drive for wealth and individual standing. Instead of being motivated by honor, turf and colors, so-called hybrid gangs appear more into the profits of criminal enterprise and boasting about their power on social media.

Some former gang members say this strain is full of punks who are only loyal when it serves them.

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Dutch prisons are closing because the country is so safe

Dutch prisons are closing because the country is so safe | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
In 2013, 19 prisons in the Netherlands closed because the country didn't have enough criminals to fill them. Now, five more are slated to close their doors by the end of the summer, according to internal documents obtained by The Telegraaf.
Rob Duke's insight:
Nils Christie argues that much of the West has considered their justice system as an industry with prisons to finance and then beds to fill.  In contrast, the Dutch have built smaller prisons embedded in communities so that it is easier for prisoners to rehabilitate.
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Abigail Buentello's comment, June 12, 3:52 AM
This is such a good idea. Although I am not too familiar with the Justice System I do feel like our prisons are endless, and there is no limit to the amount of money the government is willing to spend (I just read another article about the cost of prison in California being the same as tuition at Harvard). I definitely feel like they are constantly trying to fill those beds.
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Old Folsom prisoners hunger strike for their 8th Amendment right – freedom from cruel and unusual punishment

Old Folsom prisoners hunger strike for their 8th Amendment right – freedom from cruel and unusual punishment | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
“Administrative segregation” is prison bureaucratese for solitary confinement. On Thursday, prisoners in solitary at California’s Old Folsom State Prison went on hunger strike for their Eighth Amendment right to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment. I spoke to Raquel Estrada, wife of Anthony Estrada, a prisoner writing for the strikers in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, who elaborated on the conditions of her husband’s confinement.
Rob Duke's insight:
Emboldened by their successes, Mexican Mafia and Nuestra Familia are demanding even more concessions from prison officials....
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Uber Admits To Manipulating Fares And Prices - By jkukura - SF Weekly

Uber Admits To Manipulating Fares And Prices - By jkukura - SF Weekly | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
San Francisco had one of our standard Uber-hating hissy fits back in April of this year when Uber was served a lawsuit claiming that claimed Uber engaged in a scammy fare manipulation scheme that showed riders higher fares than drivers, with Uber underpaying their drivers and pocketing the difference.  Now, an Uber executive has completely admitted …
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