Economics of the Underground Sex Trade

The evolving economics of the underground sex trade impacts millions of individuals worldwide. It affects a multitude of other industries, from child care to the drug trade.  A recent study by the Urban Institute explores this mysterious area of economics by examining the trade in eight major U.S. cities. Continue reading “Economics of the Underground Sex Trade”

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Eyewitness Misidentification and False Memories

A wise Jedi once said, “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.” He was right, and many innocent people have gone to jail because of this. Mistaken eyewitness testimony is the number one cause of innocent people ending up behind bars with 75% of all exonerations involving mistaken eyewitness testimony in the conviction, according to the Innocence Project. Continue reading “Eyewitness Misidentification and False Memories”

Death Penalty

Warren Lee Hill Jr.’s execution has been delayed, but not prevented, yet again. Jodi Arias’ second sentencing trial is expected sometime in September. With all this delay and legal wrangling, you may ask if anyone who is sentenced to death is actually executed. You might be surprised in how few actually are, how much money it takes to get there, and how long the process really takes. Continue reading “Death Penalty”

Burden of Proof

In the U.S., anyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution from the beginning. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. The key to this burden is reasonable. This does not mean any conceivable or merely possible doubt. This is a doubt that a reasonable person would have. Continue reading “Burden of Proof”

Reforming Georgia’s Correctional System

It isn’t often that everyone in government agrees, but in May a sweeping reform of Georgia’s justice system (HB 1176) received unanimous support from both the State House and Senate. The reform seeks to reduce the cost of corrections by reducing prison populations, reducing recidivism, creating innovative treatment programs, and modifying mandatory minimums, among other things. Continue reading “Reforming Georgia’s Correctional System”

Punishment or Rehabilitation?

In the U.S. there is a strikingly high level of recidivism, meaning criminal acts that resulted in the re-arrest, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner’s release. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 67.5% of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within three years. In 2007, 15.5% of the total parole population returned to incarceration. Continue reading “Punishment or Rehabilitation?”

Going Up the River

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. There were 743 prisoners per 100,000 U.S. citizens in 2011, according to the World population list. This is compared to second place Rwanda (595) where many prisoners are being held on counts of genocide, and third place Russia (568). In Australia, the number is 133, and Canada has 114. The average rate for the group of seven excluding the U.S. (Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada) is 96. In raw numbers, the U.S. is also number one with 2.2 million people incarcerated. Continue reading “Going Up the River”

The Death Sentence of Warren Lee Hill Jr.

Warren Lee Hill Jr. is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. This is despite the fact that all the medical specialists who determined Hill to be mentally competent during his trial have recanted their statements and now believe he is unfit to receive the death penalty. One such forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas Sachy, said in an affidavit last week, “having reviewed my earlier evaluation results and the far more extensive materials from the record of this case, I believe that my judgment that Mr. Hill did not meet the criteria for mild mental retardation was in error.” Continue reading “The Death Sentence of Warren Lee Hill Jr.”