Therapy + Cash = Lower Crime


It’s a simple equation which may sound obvious to some and bizarre to others. Our current approach to crime focusses on punishment and repression, and that clearly doesn’t work given our current incarceration and recidivism rates. The good news is that simply providing people with a minimum amount to live on while also providing therapy is far cheaper and far better at dealing with crime. Instead of waiting for even more evidence that this approach works, let’s get it moving now.

A month after the intervention, both the therapy group and the therapy-plus-cash group were showing positive results. A year after the intervention, the positive effects on those who got therapy alone had faded a bit, but those who got therapy plus cash were still showing huge impacts: crime and violence were down about 50 percent.

But Blattman didn’t dare to hope that this impact would persist. Experts he surveyed predicted that the effects would steeply diminish over the years, as they do in many interventions.

So it was a great surprise when, 10 years later, he tracked down the original men from the study and reevaluated them. Amazingly, crime and violence were still down by about 50 percent in the therapy-plus-cash group.

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Another Urban Myth Busted

small car

Road users always complain that other people are breaking the law, every group of road users accuess another of breaking the most traffic rules. Truckers think cars are the worst, car drivers think cyclists are the worse, and cyclists think all vehicles are bad.

When it comes to an objective analysis of which category of road users are the worst: it’s the car. Bicyclists are the least likely to break laws.

Welcoming the new video study, the Danish Cyclists’ Federation tweeted its pleasure that, again, evidence showed that “cyclists are not lawless bandits.”

Studies elsewhere in Europe have previously found that the image of the law-breaking “Lycra lout is wrong. A Transport for London study investigated the “hypothesis that the majority of cyclists ride through red lights” and discovered that 84% of cyclists stopped on reds. The study concluded that the “majority of cyclists obey red traffic lights” and that “violation is not endemic.”

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Space Lawyer Protected Us From Mercury

Kevin Bell, space lawyer, got word from a whistleblower that a company planned on making satellites that use mercury as a propellent. Thanks to their efforts a global rainstorm of mercury was avoided.

They took their concerns to the American government and were confronted by a lot of departments denying it was their responsibility. So they went further and got the United Nations to ban the use of the deadly metal in orbit!

The Minamata Convention on Mercury seeks to eliminate all mercury uses where technically-achievable non-mercury alternatives are available,” said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, ZMWG Coordinator at the European Environmental Bureau. “In the case of satellite propulsion systems, mercury-free alternatives have been available and used for decades.”

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Alternative Solutions to Calling the Police

Respect for the police continues to erode due to questionable, immoral, and illegal police behaviour. Just this week in Ontario, police breaking the law ruined an entire case taking down a mob gambling operation. It’s also impossible to ignore the abhorrent police actions highlighted by BLM and similar organizations. So if the validity of the police is under question, what should we do?

Over at Vox they’ve collected a few solutions to problems that people may traditionally want to call the police for. It’s quite strange to call the police to help people in mental health crisis when the police are better equipped to take on armed bank robbers. It’s also strange that the police handle traffic violations while we also call them to investigate murder. It doesn’t have to be this way, we can do better and we know how.

People often decide to call the police because someone in their area appears to be intoxicated or in some kind of mental health crisis. One 2017 study of Camden, New Jersey, for example, found that 7 percent of calls were related to some mental or behavioral health need, according to the Center for American Progress (CAP).

But police are not trained to address mental health or substance use issues, and calling them can lead to a person in crisis being arrested and jailed, rather than getting the medical treatment they may need, as Amos Irwin and Betsy Pearl write at CAP. Several police killings in recent years — like the fatal shootings of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, last fall — happened when law enforcement officers encountered someone having a mental health crisis.

Instead of police, a growing number of cities have crisis response teams composed of social workers, counselors, and others trained to help people with mental health or substance problems. In Eugene, Oregon, for example, a program called Cahoots sends trained specialists to help people deal with crises involving mental health or substance use, and refers them to further services or treatment, as Roge Karma reported at Vox.

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Carbon Pricing in Canada is Constitutional

Phramacy

A few years ago the federal government in Canada started charging for carbon wastage by people and companies. The 2018 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was passed to ensure that every province in Canada is doing the bare minimum to avoid catastrophic climate change. This led Conservative leaders of a couple provinces to challenge the government’s ability to do this (yes, the same Conservative party which recently decided to not acknowledge climate change, and the same Ontario Conservative government which paid millions of dollars to illegally break a cap and trade business deal with California and Quebec, sigh). The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the federal government’s approach to reducing carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon.

Carbon pricing isn’t taking direct climate action, but it’s a good step in the right direction and signals to the world that Canada is at least willing to do something.

The full impact of this ruling will be felt over the coming years as this opens up more climate-friendly action and cases to move forward.

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