Saturday, May 05, 2007

How To Make Crime Pay

When I'm doing my clinic I sometimes overhear conversations that give me an "inside scoop" about life on the streets and other issues. I found out that our last mayor 'cleaned up the streets so you could hear a pin drop' but under the new administration 'things are going back to normal'. I also heard something this week about how to make crime pay.

An inmate was chatting with another inmate out in the hallway. He talked about how he got shot by "two unidentified black males" and ended up in the hospital. The police came to interview him but he refused to give up the names of the guys who shot him. He was later arrested and charged with various handgun-related offenses. He decided to apply for assistance through the state victim's compensation fund:

Inmate One: "It don't matter if you're locked up. You write to them and they send you a form. I got $5750."

Inmate Two: "What, you sue the police? I thought some guys shot you."

Inmate One: "They did. No, all you gotta show is that you were the victim and you got hurt. I got $5750."

Inmate Two: "So it doesn't matter that they got a witness saying that they saw you returning fire?"

Ya gotta love these guys. At least he'll have the money to pay his restitution and supervision fees.


I know I'm coming late to this party, but I just discovered Jonathan Coulton's song Your Brains. Given our recent Grand Rounds I thought it would be appropriate to share.


Anonymous said...

Hello, ClinkShrink.

I know that you're up to date on....well, nearly all media that touches on your area of profession. I didn't know if you'd caught this Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross with Philip Zimbardo who conducted the Stanford Prisoner Experiment. In case the link doesn't work, the name of the interview is "'Lucifer Effect' Asks Why Good People Go Bad". It is the May 1, 2007 show.

I hope you find it interesting.

With respect....

ClinkShrink said...

Thanks for the link Ania. I hadn't seen (or heard) that particular interview but I've certainly heard of the Stanford Prisoner Experiment.

To be honest, at this point the name Zimbardo sets my teeth on edge. It bothers me that a 35 year old study with only 24 participants, that lasted less than a week, can continue to have such influence when it means absolutely nothing. I could rant about this on a podcast (maybe I will) but basically the Zimbardo experiment bears no resemblance to the correctional world that I've worked in for over ten years. The fact that Zimbardo refers repeatedly to correctional officers as "guards" in the interview you linked to tells me that he knows little about working in a correctional environment.

The Stanford experiment was a contrived environment in which participants behaved in stereotypical ways based on correctional stereotypes. It was not a real correctional environment. Actual studies on real inmates have not proven detrimental effects on medical or psychological health from incarceration. The Canadians have probably done some of the best research on this, specifically Bonta and Gendreau and Wormith. See also the CSC study on the effects of segregation.

OK, this comment has gotten too long. I really must turn it into a blog post or else make Roy and Dinah listen to me rant during our next podcast taping.

Roy said...

Two posts in a row with zombie images. Cool! My favorite zombie movie was Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things.

Anonymous said...

(Is it okay if I run with it a little more?)

If you decide to make a post or discuss this in a podcast will you also answer these questions?:

Have you seen the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes excersise? What do you think about it?


ClinkShrink said...

My favorite zombie movie was Shaun of the Dead.

I know of the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment but don't really have much to say about it since social psychology really isn't my thing. I know corrections from both a theoretical and practical perspective. I've yet to see any new correctional officer "crack" and become a sadist within a week. I've seen officers leave after getting assaulted or quit because they couldn't handle the work. I've seen officers who've been on the job for ten years who I've never seen lose their temper. I don't agree with Zimbardo's implication that the environment is so coercive or inhumane that maladaptation is destiny.

Dinah said...

This video clip is rather weird and I don't have a favorite zombie movie.

I do like When Harry Met Sally.