Crime and Mass Incarceration: Reform or a 'New Normal'
The folks over at University of Michigan's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) asked to come back for another lecture.I had been doing some research for the 11th edition of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison to update the opening of the book. It will be/came out Oct 2016 and I'm skeptical about how much will be accomplished. But see what you think. 1. Here is the incarceration rate, to show how much has been accomplished so far; it may or may not match the amount of bipartisan hype about the need for sentencing reform.   2. So what are... continue reading »

Mass salmonella poisoning by the Peanut Corporation of America [UPDATE 2]
When nine people died and 4,000 products were recalled because of salmonella in peanuts, my years of writing and teaching about white collar crime told me there was significant wrongdoing here. Unfortunately, media did not really put together a long form narrative, so I have put this together over time with some help and encouragement. UPDATE 1: The jury has convicted the ringleaders at PCA and found them guilty on many counts, which is good and what they deserved. News stories tend to have a quote about how this will send a message to other food producers. I think the... continue reading »

Understanding Domestic Violence
Last semester, a colleague invited me to do a presentation on Domestic Violence for her into to women and gender studies class. It was a good opportunity to draw on my teaching, service on the board of SafeHouse, and interest in art by survivors of domestic violence to create a presentation. Enjoy and feel free to use it if you think it will be useful. It covers some of the basics and I hope to add to it over the long run.  Understanding Domestic Violence: Why You Should Care, What You Should Know and How to Help  Download .pdf of presentation... continue reading »

Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and do
I spoke over at the University of Michigan's Medical School to a student organization about domestic violence. I like how the presentation came out, with T-shirts and art by survivors liberally inserted with content and links. Because of the pictures, the original files are a bit large, but feel free to download, use, update. Understanding Domestic Violence: Why should medical students care, what should they know and doDownload .pdf of presentation (2MB)Download presentation as .pptx  (22MB)Read on Scribd... continue reading »

Domestic Violence Survivor Art
I'm on the Board of our local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse, and was down there tonight to help with the start of training. Seeing the T-shirts made by survivors, reminded me I had this I took a while ago with my cell phone.  [click for a slightly larger version]  I took his one while I was there this time...[click for a larger version] With the economy in Southeast Michigan a bit worse than average for the nation, the SaftHouse budget is under stress (understatements all around). For anyone who is interested, here info on donations - and you can also... continue reading »

DC v Heller and the Future of Gun Control
The Supreme Court just hear arguments in a case that potentially has important implications for the Second Amendment and gun control. It's the first time the Court has taken on meaningful issues on this topic in almost 70 years and argument actually seemed to focus substantive issues rather than a technical resolution (relating to DC not being a state but under the oversight of the Federal Govt). As this post details, the case has a variety of briefs with some surprises in terms of how positions fall out. My comment on this case will be limited to Vice President Cheney... continue reading »

Baze v Rees and the Future of Lethal Injection
The Supreme Court just heard a case challenging aspects of the way states administer lethal injection. There is only a slim chance the Court's decision will have far-reaching implications, but it is an opportunity to peek into the process that apparently would be illegal to use to euthanize an animal in Kentucky (where the case originated). So, if you put you dog or cat to sleep using the combination of drugs Kentucky uses on condemned men, that would be illegal in Kentucky. On the other hand, Kentucky has only done 1 execution and there was not a problem. So the... continue reading »

Black Swans, Banks and Bird Flu in the U.S.
In nature, swans are white, but black swans are a low probability event that is observed with regularity. In other contexts, a black swan is a low probability event with serious, even catastrophic consequences. Terrorism is a prime example of a black swan event, and I earlier blogged about the simulation of a 10 megaton nuclear weapon in a shipping container being sent to the port of Los Angeles. Now, we have another simulation of a black swan event - an examination to see how the U.S. financial system would hold up to a bird flu pandemic that could happen... continue reading »

Domestic Violence Awareness Month & Survivor Art
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month there was a candlelight vigil at SafeHouse, where I am a Board member. That's motivated me to finally get this post together and upload some pictures I've taken of the survivor artwork they have.The usual question is "Why Does She Stay?" but we know the real question should be "Why Is He Violent?" Still, if this is the question you have, then read Why (Some) Women (Sometimes) Stay.  The issue is changing men's behavior, so I'd suggest checking out the resources on about Men Working to End Violence Against Women.  For anyone... continue reading »

Sept 11 - Six Year Anniversary
I missed posting on the actual anniversary of Sept 11 because of some child care issues with my twin girls born in May (which also explains my absence from blogging over the summer...) My wife purchased a very nice diary for their first 1000 days, and since I'm back at work and dealing with my research topics I thought about commenting on their first Sept 11. Of course they're only a few months old and oblivious. But I wondered what the commemorations would be like as they got old enough to read the diary and re-read it over the course... continue reading »

Televising McVeigh's Execution (Why Is Photographing an Execution A Crime?) - mp3 lecture
Earlier this month, I was out at the ACJS meeting in Seattle and presented some new research on televising executions. I made an mp3 recording of the presentation about webcasting McVeigh's execution and added a few minutes of background information about televised executions. The talk is 24 minutes and the file is 5.3MB. (It's an early venture in audio files, so look for more and better efforts in the future.) Why Is Photographing an Execution A Crime? Once and Future Issues Raised by the Suit to Webcast McVeigh's Execution. An early edition of Death Work opens with a story about... continue reading »

Hussein Hanging Video: A Great Day for Democracy?
As I noted last month, I'm working on an article about televising McVeigh's execution: Why Is Photographing an Execution A Crime? Once and Future Issues Raised by the Suit to Webcast McVeigh's Execution. So, it's interesting to come back from eight hours on the road to see Hussein has not only been executed, but there's video footage of it. Although there's a federal law that prevents making a photographic recording of executions in the U.S., there's nothing formal that prohibits media from showing Saddam 'Butcher of Baghdad' Hussein's execution. But the U.S. media thinks it's inappropriate to do so. Why?I'm... continue reading »