(The Washington Post) - A new paper by economists Anna Aizer and Joseph J. Doyle, Jr. offers strong evidence that juvenile detention is a really counterproductive strategy for many youths under the age of 19. Not only does throwing a kid in detention often reduce the chance that he or she will graduate high school, but it also raises the chance that the youth will commit more crimes later on in life.
This seems intuitive enough, but the problem is actually measuring the effect. After all, the youths who commit crimes and get tossed in detention in the first place are presumably different from kids who never get detained. So of course they’d have different outcomes. What we’d really want to know is whether detention itself is actually making things worse.
So, to figure this out, Aizer and Doyle took a look at the juvenile court system in Chicago, Illinois. The researchers found that certain judges in the system were more likely to recommend detention than others — even for similar crimes. That is, it’s possible to identify stricter and more lenient judges. And, since youths were assigned to judges at random, this created a randomized trial of sorts.
What the researchers found was striking. The kids who ended up incarcerated were 13 percentage points less likely to graduate high school and 22 percentage points more likely to end up back in prison as adults than the kids who went to court but were placed under, say, home monitoring instead. (This was after controlling for family background and so forth.) Juvenile detention appeared to be creating criminals, not stopping them.
Today in things that everyone already knew, but are now scientifically proven.
Senator Saxby Chambliss on what’s behind the military’s sexual assault crisis: hormones.
The food stamp program — which these days actually uses debit cards, and is officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — tries to provide modest but crucial aid to families in need. And the evidence is crystal clear both that the overwhelming majority of food stamp recipients really need the help, and that the program is highly successful…
Indeed, estimates from the consulting firm Moody’s Analytics suggest that each dollar spent on food stamps in a depressed economy raises G.D.P. by about $1.70 — which means, by the way, that much of the money laid out to help families in need actually comes right back to the government in the form of higher revenue.
Wait, we’re not done yet. Food stamps greatly reduce food insecurity among low-income children, which, in turn, greatly enhances their chances of doing well in school and growing up to be successful, productive adults. So food stamps are in a very real sense an investment in the nation’s future — an investment that in the long run almost surely reduces the budget deficit, because tomorrow’s adults will also be tomorrow’s taxpayers.
So what do Republicans want to do with this paragon of programs? First, shrink it; then, effectively kill it.” —From the Mouths of Babes (via smdxn)
Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian doctor who was arrested four times for performing abortions, but whose arrests eventually led to the 1988 Canadian Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country. He died this week at the age of 90. Good obit in the NY Times.
Fox’s Jon Stossel advocating cuts to social welfare programs because “no one starved” during the Great Depression. To this, Steve Doocy responds, “right, good point.”
Oh my God I can’t even…