California Spends More on Incarceration than Education

We know lower education rates mean higher rates of incarceration:

In yesterday’s Panopticonic article — Romney Wants Fewer Teachers, Cops and Firefighters — I argued fewer teachers would lead to more crime.  Some readers commented in email there was no proof of that common sense notion, so today, I provide some hard and unavoidable facts here in Carceral Nation confirming fewer teachers create larger class sizes and larger class sizes create higher dropout rates:

Oregon’s annual dropout rate over the last decade has dipped and climbed with the number of teachers. When the number of teachers dropped to nearly 27,000 in 1998, the dropout rate hit 6.9 percent. When teacher ranks climbed to 31,000 in 2007, the dropout rate had fallen to 3.2 percent.

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When Prison is Preferable to the Streets

There are many things that children say when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Children will say that they want to be an astronaut, or that they want to be the president of the United States. (The fact that an over two hundred year life of the United States have yielded but 44 presidents does not seem to hinder teachers in grade school from telling large groups of children that they could be president if they wanted to be president.) No child, as far as I am aware, has ever said that they hope one day to live their life in prison.

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Breaking News: Juvenile Killers Will Not Spend Life in Prison

A few minutes ago, the United States Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to sentence juvenile killers to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  We support that hallmark decision because a bright line is now forever drawn between the immature lives of children and the unruly lives of adult offenders:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it’s unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder.

The high court on Monday threw out Americans’ ability to send children to prison for the rest of their lives with no chance of ever getting out. The 5-4 decision is in line with others the court has made, including ruling out the death penalty for juveniles and life without parole for young people whose crimes did not involve killing.

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Princeton or Prison?

It costs a lot of money to house prisoners in cells when the idea is no longer reformation, but rather separation and dissonant punishment:

One year at Princeton University: $37,000. One year at a New Jersey state prison: $44,000.

Prison and college “are the two most divergent paths one can take in life,” Joseph Staten, an info-graphic researcher with Public Administration, says. Whereas one is a positive experience that increases lifetime earning potential, the other is a near dead end, which is why Staten found it striking that the lion’s share of government funding goes toward incarceration.

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Get Arrested, Get Checked for Virginity

UPDATE 12-27-2011:  The forced virginity tests have been now banned by an Egyptian court. Samira Ibrahim, one of the many women forced to undergo the humiliating examination, filed the case. This is a great victory for human rights.

Egyptian women protesting had to endure an entirely unique sort of humiliation — getting tested to see if they were virgins at the time of arrest. Lest you think that this was some kind of depraved way to get into women’s undergarments under legal pretenses, rest assured that this is not the case. After all, the senior general who wished not to be identified absolutely insisted that this was the case.

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Charles Manson Still Interviewed

Forty-two years ago, Charles Manson orchestrated the murders of eight people, possibly more that have never been discovered. In my best estimate, the thing that should have been done once it was determined that he should spend the rest of his life in prison is that he should not have gotten anything in terms of media attention, interviews, record releases, or anything of the sort. Rather, he should have been put in prison and let to stay there with not so much as any form of contact with the media, let alone a series of interviews that seems to happen every so often.

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Why I Quit Foursquare

Several months ago, our roommate Chad told us about a phone app called Foursquare that let him “check in” to places he went, allowing him to get virtual points and badges for accomplishing certain goals and granting him the title of “Mayor” when he visited a location and “checked in” more than anyone else had done at that particular location. I thought it was interesting enough and so I installed it on my phone as well. I made the decision a few days ago that I was going to uninstall the program from my phone as well as blocking it from my Twitter so that I would not see when people used it. Here is why I made this decision.

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