Archive for March, 2015

Stop the Sex Offender Registry Panic

Monday, March 30th, 2015

“How did you arrive at taking up reform of the sex offender registry as a cause?

“Well, I’m interested in keeping kids safe and I’m also interested in when our fears don’t match reality. That began when I let my son ride the subway and everyone told me, “Don’t you watch ‘Law & Order’?” I was called “America’s worst mom” for trusting him on the subway, even though from my own personal experience, both as a New Yorker and as a reporter, I knew it’s really quite safe. So then I started hearing about other things that we worry about that are actually a lot safer than we think — for instance, in the suburbs, parents are driving their kids to the bus stop. Then I looked up the statistics and it turned out that only between 11 and 13 percent of kids are walking to school anymore — which, I walked to school when I was a kid. I looked up whether it’s really dangerous to wait at the bus stop and, in fact, the No. 1 way that kids die is as passengers in cars. So it seemed strange that we were obsessing about kidnapping and predators and such when the biggest danger to kids is putting them in the car and driving them to the mall.”

Read the interview with Lenore Skenazy in Salon.

A Disputed Diagnosis Imprisons Parents

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Read these articles in the Washington Post on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Case of “San Antonio Four” Set to Enter its Final Act

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

“On April 22, the case will enter its final act as the two alleged victims take the stand. Now in their late 20s, one still maintains the abuse took place, and the other says the two were coerced to make a false accusation. After each is cross-examined, a judge will decide the likely truth — essentially who is more credible — and make a recommendation to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The state’s highest criminal court will then decide whether the women should be declared innocent and entitled to compensation from the state, or, in an unlikely but plausible scenario, sent back to prison.”

Read the full article by Maurice Chammah in The Texas Tribune.

It’s Not Just the Drug War

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

“The growing unpopularity of the War on Drugs and the number of bipartisan moves to, supposedly, roll back mass incarceration have led some leftists to believe that, finally, the prison-state is about to be cut down to size.

“Yet a new book by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Marie Gottschalk, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics, makes it clear that the problem is far worse than commonly suspected, and that the reforms on the table are unlikely to even make a dent in the forces that keep millions behind bars.”

Read the interview with Marie Gottshalk in Jacobin.

Nine Horrible Social Panics

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

9 Social Panics That Gripped the Nation, Were Totally False, and Did Horrible Lasting Damage.

Read the article by Janet Allon and Kali Hollway in Alternet.

Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

“You have to feel a little sorry these days for professors married to their former students. They used to be respectable citizens—leaders in their fields, department chairs, maybe even a dean or two—and now they’re abusers of power avant la lettre. I suspect you can barely throw a stone on most campuses around the country without hitting a few of these neo-miscreants. Who knows what coercions they deployed back in the day to corral those students into submission; at least that’s the fear evinced by today’s new campus dating policies. And think how their kids must feel! A friend of mine is the offspring of such a coupling—does she look at her father a little differently now, I wonder.”

Read the article by Laura Kipnis in Chronicles of Higher Education.