Sentences and Sentencing in the News

 young-man-reading-a-book-001“These Books Won’t Change Your Life”  
(The Guardian)

” …Books are pretty useless to us. They don’t keep us warm (unless you finally fling that unputdownable freak in the fire), they don’t feed us, they wreck our environment by costing trees, and sometimes they’re plain poisonous. Sure, they’re enjoyable, but can that be justified?….In fact, the only lives books can guarantee to change are those of the authors. And even then only if sufficient quantities of their work are sold….The real question is, perhaps: do we read to allow ourselves to change or just to confirm who we already are?”


judgements-a-theme1  “For Young Inmates, Judgement’s a Theme”  
(The New York Times)

The 18-minute film took about 20 hours over 12 weeks to make. In it, the inmates also grapple with the type of judgment they hope to show in the future.

“I’ve been coming here every year since I was 16,” said one inmate. “You see old people in here. I don’t want to be like them.”

A second said, “When you’re alone in that cell, you do a whole lot of thinking.”

Another said, “There’s not going to be a Part 2 of this movie with me in it.”

The movie had its premiere before a packed house at the film center this month. Two of the inmates in it, Dekwan Clark, 20, and Mr. DeMicheli, 21, have since been released from jail and attended the screening.


guardian books blog “Turning men into Page Turners”     
(The Guardian)

Through deconstructing reading behaviour, the researchers found that people’s literary habits, in terms of the frequency with which they read, and the approach they take, do tend to fall along gender lines. Men, they concluded, are just not that into reading….Real change won’t occur until publishers band together and make a concentrated effort to re-masculate reading.



“Letting Judges Have a Say in Sentencing “    
(The New York Times) 

Between 12,000 and 13,000 people are serving prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, according to Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, a Democrat who is the chairman of the Codes Committee. The state estimates that public spends about $45,000 per year per prisoner.

“There’s widespread agreement that we have to go to more treatment, and there’s agreement about what works,” Mr. Schneiderman said, adding that that goal can be achieved through different channels. “One of the best programs in the state is run by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.”

The current struggle is really about whether judges or prosecutors will control access to the alternative programs, and whether second offenders should be eligible for consideration.


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